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What is addiction disorder?

Addiction disorder is a complex condition involving multiple areas of the brain. People with addiction have an intense focus on using a certain substances or repeating risky behaviors to an unhealthy point. Some people may try a substance or behavior and never approach it again, while others become addicted. Different substances and behaviors have different effects on a person’s health. Serious complications can cause health concerns or social situations to result in death.


Like many mental health disorders, several factors may contribute to development of addiction. The main factors are:

  • Environmental factors: including your family’s beliefs and attitudes, exposure to peer groups, etc.
  • Genetics: Addiction may be influenced by inherited genetic traits


  • Impaired control
  • Social problems
  • Risky use or behavior
  • Increased tolerance (need for larger amounts to get the same effect)

Am I at risk?

Common risk factors of addiction disorder:

  • Existing mental health disorder
  • Family history of addiction
  • Repeated and early exposure to addictive substances or behaviors
  • A lack or disruption in a person’s social support system
  • Traumatic experiences

Addiction At A Glance

  • Addiction disorders affect people from all walks of life and all age groups.
  • Over 20 million Americans over the age of 12 have an addiction.
  • 6.8 million people with an addiction have a mental illness.