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Addiction and Brain Disease

Decades of research have revealed addiction to be a disease that alters the brain.

Although the initial decision to use drugs is voluntary, with the right set of circumstances addiction can set in quickly. But, what is Addiction?

Addiction Is:

  • Characterized by compulsive behavior,
  • Continued abuse of drugs despite negative consequences, and
  • Persistent changes in the brain’s structure and function.

Drug addiction drives a person to become obsessed, often times singularly with abusing drugs despite adverse health and societal consequences. Another part of the obsession is also in the continued obtainment of drugs.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s research revealed years ago that addiction affects circuits in the brain. The circuits are involved in reward, motivation, memory and inhibitory controls. When disrupted by drug abuse and use, the person’s ability to freely choose not to use drugs is impaired; the inability to stop is the basis for addiction.

One of the most astounding discoveries is that addiction is similar to other chronic diseases. The Image above is taken from the NIDA site and is technology using imaging that measures metabolism (glucose) in the brain and heart. It’s clear that both addiction and heart disease produce changes in the function of the organ. In each of those images, shown in reds and yellows, the healthy organ shows great activity. With drug addiction, the part of the brain associated with decision-making and judgment (the frontal cortex), is affected. If drug addiction is left untreated, its effects can last a life-time.

Recovery Rob BIO

Recovery Rob is a 48-year-old man who has more than twenty years of sobriety, whose drugs of choice at one time were alcohol and drugs, and he has worked in and around the field of addiction for more than 20 years. Having just recently launched his own website,, he hopes to reach out and continue to help others who work through their process of addiction and recovery. Recovery Rob is a professional writer who has published two novels and is currently working on his third. He has been writing and working as Pat Moore Foundation’s premiere blogger and content writer, which helps keeps Pat Moore Foundation’s addiction and recovery blog top-rated.