ABC Medical Center > Drug addiction

What is Drug addiction?

21:56 - 4 May , 2021


It is a chronic disorder that induces the patient to compulsively seek and consume illegal or legal drugs (tobacco and alcohol) or prescription drugs, despite the negative physical, mental, and emotional effects that drug addiction causes.

Drug addiction seriously damages the brain and causes severe behavioral disturbances due to the uncontrollable urge to obtain drugs and use them no matter what it takes to do so.

In general, consumption is voluntary and usually occurs in socialization and recreation areas, but as it becomes a habit, it gradually ceases to be an act of will to become a compulsion, since the addiction has produced a series of changes in the brain that affect your ability to control your behavior.

The addiction intensity and the speed at which you acquire it depends on the type of drugs, the predisposition, and the tolerance of each individual. However, in all cases, as the addiction progresses, higher doses of drugs are required to feel the expected effects, so the addiction’s damage and magnitude are progressive.

Signs and symptoms Drug addiction

The physical and behavioral symptoms of drug addiction vary and include:

  • Uncontrollable desire to get high every day.
  • Progressive increase in the dose to obtain the desired effects.
  • Concern that the drug will run out.
  • Creation of drug reserves to prevent possible shortages.
  • Use all available money to buy drugs.
  • Problems at school or work for preferring the drug to fulfilling the responsibilities contracted.
  • Social isolation by preferring consumption.
  • Realizing the physical and mental damage of the drug and not having the will to stop.
  • Get drugs regardless of whether crimes are committed to achieve it.
  • Frustrated attempts to quit the drug.
  • Withdrawal syndrome when attempting to quit consumption.
  • Not thinking about anything but the drug.

Potential risks:

Although anyone, regardless of age, gender, or social position, can become addicted, some factors have been identified that contribute to becoming addicted, such as:

  • Family members with addictions.
  • Having a mental illness
  • Friendships and social environment of addictions.
  • Disconnected family.
  • Trying the drug early.
  • Using highly addictive drugs such as opioids and cocaine.

Diagnosis and treatment Drug addiction

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical examination and request blood and urine tests to identify drug use, although to determine addiction you must be psychologically evaluated by an addiction specialist.

The treatment seeks to get you away from drugs, avoid consumption, and prevent possible relapses, so it should include:

  • Therapy to treat chemical dependency.
  • Detox program.
  • Behavioral therapy.
  • Help groups.

At the Neurological Center, a select group of highly trained and certified doctors in the various neurological specialties are ready to assist you with the quality and warmth that characterizes us.


Nervous system specialties

  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Spine surgery
  • Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Neurophysiology
  • Neuro-rehabilitation
  • Neuro-pathology
  • Interventional neuro-radiology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Neuro-otology
  • Epilepsy
  • Neuro-ophthalmology
  • Neuroimaging


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  • Rodríguez ZL, Zayas FML, Román LI, et al. Necesidades de aprendizaje de los adolescentes en relación a las adicciones. Mul Med. 2020;24(3):631-644.
  • Vázquez MA, La Rosa MY, Pablos AT. Sintomatología depresiva en adictos a drogas ilegales. Mul Med. 2018;22(1):153-166.
  • Cutié BA, Rosales RRC, Gámez PRN. Mimosa pudica: una modalidad local de sustancia de abuso. MediSan. 2015;19(12):6053-6057.

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    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.