What is Addiction?

North Country Addictions Resource Center

Substance Use Disorder

Problematic Substance Use

Substance Use Disorder, often referred to as drug addiction, is a disease that impacts a person’s brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication. Substances such as alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine are considered drugs along with prescription and illicit drugs. People with a Substance Use Disorder often continue using drugs despite the harm it causes. Not all people who use substances in an inappropriate or abusive manner have a Substance Use Disorder, but when their use begins to have an impact on other parts, we recommend seeking out help. There are abundance of resources available locally to improve the lives of those impacted by substance use.

The Dangers of Substance Use

There are many dangers and adverse events that can occur as a result of substance misuse, including the risk of overdose which can be fatal. Other dangers include contracting contagious blood borne diseases as a result of intravenous drug use or being involved in serious accidents due to being under the influence. The disease of addiction can impact an individual not only on a biological level but also on a psychological, social, and spiritual level.

What is Substance Use Disorder?

Substance Use Disorder, often referred to as addiction, is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and continue use despite negative consequences. Like many other chronic diseases, prevention and treatment services for addiction are generally successful.

Signs and Symptoms of Substance Use Disorder

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), symptoms of Substance Use Disorder may include.

  • A desire or unsuccessful attempts to control, decrease, or stop substance use.
  • Continued substance use despite the problems it causes.
  • Cravings to use the substance.
  • Excessive time spent obtaining, using, or recovering from a substance.
  • Often use substance more than intended.
  • Ongoing need to increase use to achieve same effect.
  • Recurrent use of substance in risky situations.
  • Relationships negatively impacted by substance use.
  • Stopping or decreasing important activities because of the substance.
  • Substance interferes with fulfilling obligations.
  • Withdrawal symptoms if substance use is stopped.

Other Types of Addiction

Problem Gambling

Gambling does not discriminate; it affects people of all levels of society. Men and Women, Young and Old, Wealthy or Poor. It is often labeled as the “Hidden Addiction”. Problem Gambling is defined as the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the toll it takes on your life. People gamble for several reasons; individuals will gamble for thrills and entertainment while others will gamble to escape reality. Many individuals gamble with friends, while many gamble alone. Problem Gambling can have very severe consequences to a person’s mental health, financials, and friendships.  

 What are some signs of Problem Gambling? 

  • Gambling that disrupts your sleep or eating habits 

  • Gambling to escape boredom 

  • Gambling to escape emotions such as stress, anxiety, or depression 

  • Vulnerable thoughts when Gambling 

  • Personality changes due to Gambling

You are not alone!

Approximately 2 million individuals within the United States (about the population of Nebraska) meet the criteria for “Problem Gambling” . While 4-6 Million individuals within the United States meet one or more of the criteria of “Problem Gambling” .

Escape Problem Gambling visit Problem Gambling Treatment | Office of Addiction Services and Supports (ny.gov)

Other Addictive Disorders

The DSM-5 now recognizes some behavioral addictions.

Most medical experts agree certain behavior patterns can become problematic over time, but there is still some debate around the point when behaviors become addictions and the specific behaviors that can become addictive.

If you are concerned about certain behaviors utilize the directory to find resources.