It’s common to believe that an addict looks a particular way. Perhaps you have an image of an addict being covered in tattoos, with a mohawk, and wearing gang-related clothing. However, addiction is a disease that does not discriminate. People of various cultural backgrounds, regardless of their job or income, regardless of their level of education, regardless of their race or color can develop an addiction. Addiction is a disease of the brain and it can affect anyone.

In short, addiction is the experience of having strong urges to take a drug even if it causing harm. In the beginning of regular drug use, a person often still has the ability to stop whenever necessary. Yet, as a dependency continues to develop and the cycle of addiction grows, a person simply cannot stop from taking a certain substance, even if they want to. They might know that regularly using a certain drug is ruining their marriage, negatively affecting their work performance and placing risk on their job, and yet, they continue to use. This is the uncomfortable experience of addiction. Truly, the only way to escape this trap is to get outside help.

There are many substances that people can become addicted to, such as alcohol, tobacco, recreational drugs, and prescription pain medication. Some substances have more of an addictive quality than others. And some substances are legal, while others aren’t. Anyone caught using or possessing illegal drugs can be arrested, fined, and put into jail. Although you may not normally put prescription drugs in a category of addiction, in recent years, there have been thousands of people who have been hooked by addiction with these substances. Prescription drugs are strong opiates and if not taken as prescribed, they can contribute to a developing addiction.

There are other factors that can contribute to addiction. These include:

  • -Growing up with addiction in the family
  • -Spending time with others who use drugs and alcohol
  • -Having a mental illness which might prompt you to want to use substances in order to manage symptoms
  • -Starting drugs at a young age


One thing you might note from the above factors is that these circumstances can affect anyone. They are not limited to a certain group of people. Anyone, regardless of gender, age, race, color, socioeconomic status, or education, can become addicted to drugs or alcohol.  You might note that none of these factors will affect you if you do not take drugs or alcohol in the first place. Abstinence is the best form of protection against addiction to substances.

At the same time, if you or someone you know is already using drugs or alcohol, it’s important to get help. The cycle of addiction can easily progress into a more and more severe experience. The sooner you get outside help, the better.

In order to get help, look for a therapist, psychologist, or physician in your neighborhood to talk to. He or she can assist you and point you in the direction of sobriety and recovery.

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