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Addiction is a chronic disease, like diabetes or heart disease, for which there is no cure. Addiction is characterized by compulsive drug use in spite of negative consequences.
Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive, or uncontrollable, drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences and changes in the brain, which can be long lasting. These changes in the brain can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who use drugs. Drug addiction is also a relapsing disease. Relapse is the return to drug use after an attempt to stop.
People struggling with addiction often are unable to recognize the disease in themselves. Unfortunately, people who compulsively seek and use drugs are mistakenly assumed to have poor judgement and lack willpower. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will.