Understanding Addiction: What Causes People to Lose Control?

Addiction is a complex disorder that can cause people to lose control over their actions. They may become obsessed with seeking out drugs, alcohol, or other substances, even if it means risking their relationships, family, or job. But why is addiction so powerful? And why is it so hard to quit smoking?Substance abuse is a pattern of compulsive substance use that leads to significant negative consequences in a person's life. This could include missing work or school, getting arrested, and having marital problems.

Substance use disorders are caused by changes in the brain that occur with repeated use of alcohol or drugs. The most serious form of the disorder, addiction, is linked to changes in the brain circuits related to pleasure (the reward system), learning, stress, decision-making, and self-control.