According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), addiction is “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.” Often times, people who experiment with drugs continue to use them because the substance either makes them feel good or stops them from feeling bad. There is a fine line between recreational, social use and abuse or addiction. And people suffering from this disease are rarely able to recognize when that line has been crossed.

American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2011). Public policy statement: Definition of addiction. Retrieved from http://www.asam.org

Alcoholics Anonymous
Narcotics Anonymous
National Alliance of Mental Illness

Warning Signs of Mental Health and Chemical Impairment

  • Physical Changes
  • Change in appearance/poor hygiene
  • Frequent shaking and/or sweating
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in speech patterns
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Behavioral Changes
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of memory/blackout
  • Change in social activities
  • Extreme temper, mistrusting, anxious, depressed and/or irritable
  • Performance Changes
  • Disorganized
  • Increased number of errors
  • Increased customer complaints
  • Frequent absences