Why do people use drugs? Basically people use drugs because they like the way drugs make them feel. Pleasure is a powerful force. If you do something pleasurable, your brain is wired in such a way that you want to do it again. All drugs that are addicting can activate and affect the brain's pleasure circuit. What is addiction? Addiction is a disease that affects your brain and your behavior. You have control over your choice to start using drugs, but once you start, the pleasurable effect of drugs makes you want to keep using them. Over time, your brain actually changes in certain ways so that a powerful urge to use drugs controls your behavior. This is what it means to be addicted to drugs. Someone who is addicted uses drugs without thinking or caring about the consequences. What drugs can cause addiction? People can become addicted to both illegal drugs and drugs that doctors prescribe. People can also become addicted to things they may not think of as drugs, such as alcohol, food, nicotone, or caffiene Aren't prescription drugs safe? When prescription drugs are taken the right way, they are safe and there is little chance of addiction. However, prescription drugs can be dangerous if they are abused (for example, taking too much or taking them when they're not needed). Some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs are painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs. How do I know if I have a problem? You have a problem if you keep craving and using a drug even if it's causing trouble for you. The trouble may be with your health, with money, with work or school, or with your relationships with family or friends. Your friends and family may be aware you're having a problem before you realize it, because they see changes in your behavior. Possible Signs of Drug Abuse: Trouble paying attention Being more forgetful than usual Missing work or school Being more moody than usual Trouble sleeping Paranoia (feeling that people are "out to get you") No interest in things you used to enjoy Can addiction be treated? Yes, but addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease. It may take a number of attempts before you can remain free of drugs or alcohol. How do I stop? The first step in breaking addiction is realizing that you control your own behavior. You can't control how the people around you act. But you can control how you react. It's the only real control you have in your life. So use it. The following are the first steps to breaking your addiction: 1. Commit to quitting. Once you decide to quit, make plans to be sure you really do it. 2. Get help from your doctor. He or she can be your biggest ally, even if you're trying to quit a drug he or she prescribed. Your doctor may be able to prescribe medicine that makes you less likely to crave the addictive drug. Talking with your doctor or a counselor about your problems and your drug use can be helpful too. 3. Get support. Contact an NA or AA hotline. These groups are dedicated to helping people who have addictions. They want you to succeed, and they will give you the tools and support you need to quit and move on with your life. Ask your family and friends for support too. ~~~~~~ I have a few things I disagree with on this... so I reworded some things, but I have a major gripe with the prescription drug use thing. As an addict, I find it very hard to even take asprin unless absolutely necessary. Also, as an addict, I know extremely well that when you're on prescription painkillers, its not easy. most addicts I know, including myself, when we have a surgery or something that requires use of such things, its very hard not to just use them up and go get more. It's also hard to admit that these are the same things that you used to use when you couldn't find something else, or that they were the same things that got you started in the first place. So I disagree with the line that says there is very little chance of them being addiction. Some people have an addictive personality and get hooked quite quickly on things like this. Now awhile I don't view that as abuse at all, to me personally, prescription drugs are things I'll just throw away before I take them or if I really need to take them, I take what i need and toss them, because i'm not so sure that I'd stop taking them when I didn't have a medical reason anymore. But for others who are do have the addictive personality, it can lead to abuse sooner than most people seem to think.