Addiction is a chronic disease that changes both brain structure and function, currently affecting the lives of nearly 10% of adults in the United States.

Addiction swaps the everyday desires of the brain with those of the drug you are addicted to. You no longer enjoy what other people do as the brain changes. The changes start with recognition of pleasure and end with a drive toward compulsive behavior to fulfill that desire. Sometimes, when you try quitting, the addiction weakens your ability to manage impulses.

new jersey addiction detox exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain. This influence manifests in three ways:

  • Craving for the object of addiction
  • Loss of control over its use
  • Continuing involvement with it despite problems it causes

With drug and alcohol addiction, substances hijack the brain’s reward system. This could lead to developing a physical dependence on substances.

Some people develop unpleasant and sometimes dangerous physical symptoms when they stop or decrease substance use. These changes result in a weakened ability to control impulses despite the negative consequences.

Substance misuse can lead to serious physical, emotional, and social problems. For example, continued use of drugs or alcohol can lead to job loss, broken relationships, and other failures. These problems often increase stress and anxiety.

Addiction Rarely Acts Alone

Stress, anxiety, trauma, and depression can also result in the development of substance use disorders, which can create new challenges for your mental health.

Studies show that many of those struggling with other mental illnesses also struggle with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Many individuals with a substance use disorder (SUD) also have other mental health symptoms or disorders. This is known as having a dual diagnosis.

The following have been known to co-occur with addiction:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Personality disorders, like borderline personality disorder
  • Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders

Who Can Develop an Addiction? Anyone

It is possible for people of all ages, backgrounds, and socioeconomic groups to develop addictions to alcohol or drugs. Although some groups are more vulnerable than others, there are several factors that contribute to the onset of addiction.


Research suggests that genes contribute to the risk of developing both a substance use disorder and a mental illness. Environmental factors, such as stress or trauma, can cause genetic changes. We also know that some genes are passed down in families. These changes may contribute to the development of a substance use disorder or other mental illnesses.

Mental Illness

Research shows that some mental illnesses increase risk for addiction disorders.

For instance, someone struggling with mental illness may get into drugs in an attempt to feel better. Though it may seem to alleviate immediate pain, the use of drugs and alcohol often has devastating, long-term effects. Continued drug use causes the brain to increase the rewarding effects, sometimes resulting in the development of other addictions.