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Addiction is not just "a lot of drug use." At some point, changes occur in the brain that can turn drug abuse into addiction; a chronic, relapsing illness. Those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol suffer from compulsive craving and usage and cannot quit by themselves.

Drug addiction is a disease that includes four symptoms:

  • Craving: A strong need, or compulsion, to use.
  • Loss of control: The inability to limit one's use on any given occasion.
  • Physical dependence: Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety, occur when use is stopped after a period of binging.
  • Tolerance: The need to use greater amounts in order to "get high."

Addiction has little to do with willpower. Addicts are in the grip of an uncontrollable need that overrides their ability to stop using or drinking. This need can be as strong as the need for food or water. Treatment is necessary to end this compulsive behavior.

Would you like more information?

Call the Employee Assistance Program at (800) 292-2780.