Substance abuse programs and services
Addiction to alcohol or other drugs is a primary, chronic illness. The disease is often progressive and can be fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic:
- Impaired control over one's chemical use
- Preoccupation with alcohol or other drugs
- Use despite adverse consequences
- Distortions in thinking, most notably denial.
Alcohol or other drug addiction may begin with a personal choice to use these substances. However, research shows that, for many, a physiological dependence soon takes hold. Drug dependence produces significant and lasting changes in brain chemistry and function. These drug-induced changes in brain function may have behavioral consequences, including the defining characteristic of addiction: compulsion to use alcohol or other drugs despite adverse consequences.