A person starts out as an occasional drug user, a voluntary decision. But then that person gradually becomes a compulsive drug user. Why? Over time, continued use of addictive drugs changes your brain, resulting in physical and behavioral changes … virtually always resulting in compulsive and even uncontrollable drug use.
Every type of drug of abuse has its own individual mechanism for changing how the brain functions. But regardless of which drug a person is addicted to, many of the effects it has on the brain are similar: they range from changes in the molecules and cells that make up the brain, to mood changes, to changes in memory processes and in such motor skills as walking and talking. And these changes have a huge influence on all aspects of a person’s behavior.
Despite the similarities, different drugs also vary in physiological and behavioral effects. Understanding the addict’s drug of choice can help in clarifying the problem, communicating with the addict, and identifying the best treatment.