Addiction Changes How Your Brain Works

Everyone needs a little extra support

Addiction is when that “thing” becomes the major focus of your life, and when it gets to the point that you don’t do other things or it harms you or someone else physically, mentally or socially. These brain changes can lead to harmful and self-destructive behaviors. And just like diabetes, heart disease or other chronic conditions, it needs continuing long-term care.

What to Look For:

So how do you know? Pay attention when you or someone you care about:

  • Becomes obsessed with an activity, substance, object or behavior.
  • Seeks it out even when it causes physical problems, work or study issues, or conflict with friends and family.
  • Does it over and over again or can’t stop.
  • Has withdrawal symptoms: jumpiness, trembling, sweating, nausea/vomiting, insomnia, depression, irritability, fatigue, loss of appetite or headaches.
  • Doesn’t feel in control of when, how long, or how much with the activity, substance, object or behavior.
  • Hides it / denies a problem with it.
  • Experiences a blackout doing it.
  • Is depressed or has extreme mood swings.
  • Neglects activities that were once really important.
  • Has an extreme change in appearance, eating habits or energy.
  • Takes serious or unnecessary health risks.
  • Has a family history of addiction.
  • Comes from a family that was mentally or physically abusive; has low self-esteem.

Substance Abuse

So you’re ready to address substance misuse and addiction for yourself or a loved one, but not sure where to go? Trying to keep it private? Embarrassed? Yes, it’s hard to reach out for support. To admit you need it takes guts, but it’s those little extra steps, along with treatment, that can keep you or a loved one moving forward toward recovery.

Help Any Time You Need It

The truth about the misuse of substance abuse is that anyone can become addicted to prescription drugs. Speak to your family doctor or other health professional right away if you’re concerned someone you know could be misusing substances. You can also contact the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

You can also find help at these additional resources:

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