When a drug user can't stop taking a drug even if he wants to, it's called addiction. The urge is too strong to control, even if you know the drug is causing harm.

When people start taking drugs, they don't plan to get addicted. They like how the drug makes them feel. They believe they can control how much and how often they take the drug. However, drugs change the brain. Drug users start to need the drug just to feel normal. That is addiction, and it can quickly take over a person's life.

Addiction can become more important than the need to eat or sleep. The urge to get and use the drug can fill every moment of a person's life. The addiction replaces all the things the person used to enjoy. A person who is addicted might do almost anything—lying, stealing, or hurting people—to keep taking the drug. This could get the person arrested.

Addiction is a brain disease.

  • Drugs change how the brain works.
  • These brain changes can last for a long time.
  • They can cause problems like mood swings, memory loss, even trouble thinking and making decisions.

Addiction is a disease, just as diabetes and cancer are diseases. Addiction is not simply a weakness. People from all backgrounds, rich or poor, can get an addiction. Addiction can happen at any age, but it usually starts when a person is young.