What is Addiction?

Addiction is a disease of the brain and is an extremely complex problem. The use and abuse of drugs and alcohol is just a symptom of addiction. Addiction is not just tolerance to and withdrawal from a substance. Continued use despite negative circumstances, loss of control, and compulsiveness are key components of addictive behavior.

Warning Signs of Chemical Dependency

As with any disease, the earlier the signs or chemical dependency are detected, the greater the chance of successful treatment. Warning signs of chemical dependency often include:

  • Rapid, unexplained changes in mood
  • Changes in job or school performance
  • Unexplained changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Dishonesty or stealing
  • Loss of old friends; new friends known to drink or use drugs
  • Neglect of personal appearance
  • Suicidal ideations or threats
  • Increased drinking or use of other drugs
  • Blackout periods, or temporary memory loss
  • Taking more medications than prescribed
  • Hostility and lack of cooperativeness
  • Withdrawal, isolation, depression, or fatigue
  • Drinking or using drugs alone or in isolation
  • Increased tolerance to alcohol and other drugs


National Suicide Prevention Line 1-800-273-8255
Mental Health Substance Abuse/ Substance Abuse Hotline 1-800-522-9054