What is substance abuse and addiction?

Substance abuse and addiction are serious public health challenges that impact millions of lives and result in thousands of deaths each year in the United States. Addiction is a mental disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in harmful behaviors despite their negative consequences. Genetic factors play a significant role in addiction, accounting for 40-60% of a person’s risk. Environmental risk factors, such as a chaotic home environment, peer influences, and poor academic achievement, also contribute to the development of addiction. Substance misuse involves using prescription medications in ways not consistent with medical guidelines, while drug abuse is the intentional use of drugs to elicit certain feelings or get high. Drug addiction is a severe form of drug abuse that leads to a loss of control over substance use, resulting in significant disruptions in various aspects of an individual’s life. It is essential to debunk myths surrounding substance use disorders, understand the differences between misuse, abuse, and addiction, and seek professional help early on for effective treatment and recovery.