You Become Addicted


sad teen girl

When you use drugs, you put yourself at risk of becoming addicted.

Although people of any age can become addicted to drugs, the earlier drug use begins, the more likely it is to progress to addiction.

The teen brain is undergoing many critical changes. Using drugs, alcohol, or nicotine can interfere with development and lead to long-term changes in the brain.

What is drug addiction?

Drug addiction is a disease that affects the brain and makes people constantly seek drugs, even if they know drug use is hurting them. Using drugs changes your brain’s structure and function.

Addiction is a brain disease because drugs change how the brain works. And although the initial decision to take drugs may be voluntary, over time, the changes in your brain can weaken your self-control and ability to make sound decisions, while creating intense impulses to take drugs.

Can drug addiction be cured?

There is no cure, but people suffering drug addiction can often recover through treatment provided by a licensed drug treatment facility under the supervision of a medical provider. But it’s not easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. Similar to people with diabetes or heart disease, people in treatment for drug addiction have to modify or change their behavior.

If you use illegal drugs or abuse substances such as inhalants, prescription drugs, or over-the-counter medications, you are at risk of becoming addicted. And if you’ve heard that marijuana is not addictive, think again. Research shows that each year more teens enter treatment with a primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than enter treatment for all other illicit drugs combined.

If you think you may be addicted to drugs, there are many treatment options available—so get help right away.

How do you know if you have a problem with drugs?

One way to determine if you have a drug problem is to answer honestly some questions about your drug use:

  • Do you spend a lot of time thinking about using drugs?
  • Are you giving up things you used to love because of drugs?
  • Has your drug use caused problems between you and your friends and family?
  • Have you gotten in trouble at school or at work because of your drug use?

If you think you may have a problem with drugs, talk to school counselor, doctor, or an alcohol and drug counselor. These people can help you figure out if you have a substance abuse disorder or if you are addicted and how to get treatment.