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It is sometimes difficult to know whether or not you've become addicted to drugs. Addiction affects about one-tenth of the people who drink alcohol or use drugs. Many people are able to drink in moderation or use drugs recreationally. These people would not be classified as drug addicts.
Addiction is a disease of the mind and body where the individual no longer has the ability to control whether or not they drink or use. They continue the addiction regardless of the consequences.
Even someone who uses on a regular basis is able to rationally understand the consequences of what they are doing. When these individuals are faced with losing a job, getting a DUI or the threat of a relationship ending, they are able to reduce or completely eliminate the substance from their lives. Occasionally, there is a misconception that the loss of different things in someone's life may indicate that they are an addict. This is not necessarily so. People lose jobs, have financial difficulties and have relationships end all the time. Someone who is in addiction loses these things as a direct result of their drinking or using but continues the behavior anyway because they are unable to stop.
This is a confusing state because many addicts are able to exhibit willpower in all aspects of their lives except their drug addiction. The disease causes the person to react differently to substances than other people, and their body immediately craves more. They compulsively fantasize about the next drink or drug; their entire world revolves around getting more and using more. Much like other chronic diseases, recovery from addiction is possible. There are different stages of addiction, but when it is caught in early stages, it is much easier to treat. The longer that someone continues in their addiction, the more damage is done to their body and mind, causing more intense cravings and dependence on substance use. It is never too late to begin recovery from this disease.