Drug addiction is a multifaceted illness distinguished by powerful and, at times, unmanageable drug desire, along with uncontrollable drug in search of and use that persist even in the face of overwhelming consequences. Despite the fact that the path to drug dependence begins with the deliberate act of using drugs, as time goes by, a person’s aptitude to select not to do so gets compromised, and looking for and taking drugs becomes neurotic. This conduct results mainly from the consequences of extended drug exposure on brain performance. Craving is a brain illness that impacts multiple brain functions, as well as the ones involved in gain and enthusiasm, knowledge and memory, and inhibitory control over behavior.

For additional information on comprehensive information on treatment options for drug addiction and examples of precise programs proven effective through studies, view NIDA’s Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (o en Español).

For additional information regarding treatment for substance abusers in the criminal justice system, view NIDA’s Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations: A Research-Based Guide.


  1. Information is from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (previously known as the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse), which is an yearly survey of Americans age 12 and older conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This survey is available online at www.samhsa.gov and from NIDA at 877-643-2644.