Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction

From NIDA:

“Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction” was unveiled today by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health. The 30-page full-color booklet explains in layman’s terms how science has revolutionized the understanding of drug addiction as a brain disease that affects behavior. NIDA hopes this new publication will help reduce stigma against addictive disorders.

“Thanks to science, our views and our responses to drug abuse have changed dramatically, but many people today still do not understand why people become addicted to drugs or how drugs change the brain to foster compulsive drug abuse,” said NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. “This booklet aims to fill that knowledge gap by providing scientific information about the disease of drug addiction in language that is easily understandable to the public.”

The “Science of Addiction” booklet discusses the reasons people take drugs, why some people become addicted while others do not, how drugs work in the brain, and how addiction can be prevented and treated. Like diabetes, asthma or heart disease, drug addiction is a chronic disease that can be managed successfully. Treatment helps to counteract addiction’s powerful disruptive effects and helps people regain control of their lives. The new booklet points out that just as with other chronic diseases, relapses can happen. The publication further explains that relapse is not a signal of treatment failure – rather, it indicates that treatment should be reinstated or adjusted to help the addict fully recover.