Drug and Alcohol Addiction


Addiction is a disease a chronic, relapsing brain disease defined by a physical and psychological dependence on drugs, alcohol or a behavior. When an addictive disorder has formed, a person will pursue their toxic habits despite putting themselves or others in harm’s way.

An addiction heavily impacts the way a person thinks, feels and acts. Many individuals with addictive disorders are aware of their problem, but have difficulty stopping on their own.

While it can be tempting to try a drug or addictive activity for the first time, it’s all too easy for things to go south – especially in the case of drug and alcohol abuse. When a person consumes a substance repeatedly over time, they begin building a tolerance. A tolerance occurs when you need to use larger amounts of drugs or alcohol to achieve the same effects as when you started.

Prolonged substance abuse can result in a dangerous cycle of addiction — where a person needs to continue using drugs or alcohol in order to avoid the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. By the time a person realizes they have a problem, drugs or alcohol have already seized control, causing them to prioritize its use over everything else that was once important in their lives.

No one ever plans to become addicted but addiction is a disease. There are countless reasons why someone would try a substance or behavior. Some are driven by curiosity and peer pressure, while others are looking for a way to relieve stress. Other factors that might steer a person toward harmful substance use behavior include:

Children who grow up in environments where drugs and alcohol are present have a greater risk of developing a substance abuse disorder down the road.


Research estimates that genetics account for 40 to 60 percent of a person’s likelihood of developing a substance use problem.

Mental health disorders

Teens and adults with mental disorders are more likely to develop substance abuse patterns than the general population.

Addiction and the Brain

Excessive substance abuse affects many parts of the body, but the organ most impacted is the brain. When a person consumes a substance such as drugs or alcohol, their brain produces large amounts of dopamine, which triggers the brain’s reward system. After repeated drug use, the brain is unable to produce normal amounts of dopamine on its own. This means that a person will struggle to find enjoyment in pleasurable activities – like spending time with friends or family – when they are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug dependency, it’s vital to seek treatment as soon as possible. All too often people try to get better on their own, but this can be difficult and in some cases dangerous. Drug Addiction in Philadelphia Drug Addiction in Philadelphia is costing 32 lives a day.

Recognizing and Understanding Addiction

Identifying a substance abuse problem can be a complicated process. While some signs of addictive behaviors are obvious, others are more difficult to recognize. Many people who realize they have a problem will try to hide it from family and friends, making it harder to tell whether someone is struggling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Enabling is the action someone takes or does not take that allow an addict to continue abusing. These actions are done with the best intentions in mind.
Don't worry, most of the families we help do not have experience in letter writing either. Our intervention specialist is here to assist you through this process.
There are many common misconceptions about an intervention and its goals. A common misconception is that an intervention is solely getting them to go to treatment or rehab.
There are 3 basic types of alcohol or drug users. Granted, there are certainly gray areas in between, but most addicts can be categorized into one of the following three groups. A social or moderate user, hard user or a real drug addict.
The untreated addiction has a group of common symptoms that can be observed as it progresses over time. The untreated addiction is progressive and gets worse over time. The untreated addiction is chronic and/or eventually fatal. And most important, the addiction is treatable and can be put into "permanent" remission with adequate treatment and recovery.
The answer is simple. Currently, their substance abuse is emotionally more comfortable than seeking treatment. Part of the reason that it is more comfortable for them is because we have helped to make it that way. They have no job because we lend them money, they have no apartment because we give them a roof "until they get on their feet", their bills are paid because we pay them, they are not in jail because we bail them out and noone knows because we keep it a secret.