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Drug Addiction: Definition, Type, Causes, Symptoms, Effect, Treatment and Recovery.

Drug addiction or substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a chronic condition characterized by the compulsive and harmful use of substances, leading to significant impairment in various areas of life. According to the research article titled “Prevalence of Substance Use Disorders in the United States” conducted by Grant BF et al. in 2016, it was found that approximately 20.1 million adults in the United States had a substance use disorder in the past year. This shows the significant impact of substance use disorders on the population.

The types of drug addiction include alcohol addiction, stimulant addiction, cannabis addiction, opioid addiction, sedative-hypnotic addiction, hallucinogen addiction, and inhalant addiction.

The causes of drug addiction are broadly classified into biological factors, environmental and psychological factors. This includes genetic predisposition, family history, peer influence, mental health condition, social influences, early exposure to substances, and trauma.

The symptoms of drug addiction include cravings, withdrawal symptoms, tolerance, loss of control, neglecting responsibilities, social and interpersonal problems, and continued use despite negative consequences.

The effects of drug addiction include physical health problems, impaired cognitive function, deteriorating relationships, financial difficulties, legal issues, and overall deterioration in quality of life.

Treatment options for drug addiction include a combination of behavioral therapies, medication-assisted treatment, support groups, counseling, and holistic approaches aimed at addressing the physical, psychological, and social aspects of addiction.

What is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is recognized as a brain disorder that profoundly affects the reward, motivation, and decision-making systems according to NIDA’s most recent 2024 publication titled Drug Misuse and Addiction. It involves changes in brain chemistry and neural pathways, resulting in a strong and often uncontrollable urge to seek and use substances. Because substance use disorders involve functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control on the brain, Goldstein RZ, Volkow ND. 2011 study considers addiction a brain disease that last a long time after a person has stopped taking drugs. The persistent nature of drug addiction leads to a cycle of continued drug use despite the negative consequences it brings. It is diagnosed when an individual’s drug use leads to significant impairment or distress, impacting multiple areas of their life, including physical and mental health, relationships, work, and overall well-being.

According to a 2020 study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), SUD affects approximately 19.7 million adults in the United States, with an estimated 8.5 million individuals suffering from both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. It is associated with a range of adverse outcomes, including increased risk of accidents, health problems, legal issues, and social and interpersonal difficulties.

What is the difference between drug addiction and drug dependence?

The difference between addiction and dependence is in the compulsive nature of the behavior associated with addiction, even in the absence of physical withdrawal symptoms. While dependence sometimes occurs without addiction (such as in some cases of long-term use of pain medications or antidepressants prescribed by a doctor), addiction involves both a physical and psychological component and typically includes a pattern of behavior that significantly impairs and impacts one’s life.

Drug Addiction

Addiction is characterized by a lack of control over drug use, where individuals continue to use substances despite knowing the harm they cause to themselves and others, indicating significant behavioral and psychological impairment. Those with addiction are driven by an overpowering urge to use substances, leading to compulsive actions such as preoccupation with obtaining and using the drug. Addiction involves persistent drug use despite facing serious negative consequences, impacting various areas of life such as occupational, social, and recreational activities. Additionally, addiction significantly affects psychological processes like reward, motivation, and memory, often resulting in intense cravings triggered by cues associated with drug use.

Drug Dependence

Physical dependence on a drug is identified by tolerance, needing more of the drug for the same effect, and withdrawal symptoms when drug use is reduced or stopped after prolonged use. This physiological process occurs as the body adjusts to continuous drug exposure. Dependence can happen without addiction; individuals may develop it due to prescribed medications for legitimate medical reasons without exhibiting addictive behaviors. Medical management typically involves gradually tapering the drug dosage under supervision to alleviate withdrawal symptoms effectively. Treatment focuses on detoxifying the body and managing physical symptoms to restore physical health and balance.

What are the Types of Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is broadly classified into different types which include depressant addiction, opioid addiction, hallucinogen addiction, inhalant addiction, nicotine addiction, sedative-hypnotic addiction, alcohol addiction, and stimulant addiction.

1. Opioid Addiction

opioid addiction

Opioid use disorder (OUD) is defined as the chronic use of opioids that causes clinically significant distress or impairment according to Dydyk AM, Jain NK, Gupta M’s 2024 study on Opioid Use Disorder in StatPearls. Opioids are a class of drugs that include both legal pain relievers prescribed by doctors, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and fentanyl, and illegal drugs like heroin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Over 75% of the nearly 107,000 drug overdose deaths in 2021 involved an opioid. From 2020 to 2021. Opioids work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body, reducing the perception of pain and promoting feelings of euphoria.

In 2016, there were 3,613 opioid-related overdose deaths in Ohio which equates to a rate of 32.9 deaths per 100,000 persons and more than double the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Ohio Opioid Summary from 2019.

Symptoms include increased tolerance, severe withdrawal symptoms (e.g., pain, digestive distress, mood swings), uncontrollable cravings, and continued use despite harmful consequences. Causes include chronic pain management, recreational use, genetic predisposition, social environment, and emotional distress.

Someone with opioid addiction may begin using prescription painkillers for legitimate pain but gradually develop a tolerance, leading to increased usage and eventually turning to illegal opioids like heroin to satisfy their cravings.

There are various approaches to rehabilitating and maintaining patients with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), starting with cognitive behavioral therapy similar to that used for other chronic conditions, according to Moberg (2018) and Szalavitz and Rigg (2017). Maintenance programs also include psychological support, motivational education, reward cooperation, and medication to minimize drug relapses, as noted by Fals-Stewart and O’Farrell (2003). Patients with OUD are encouraged to participate in self-help programs such as Narcotics Anonymous, which, combined with education and motivational enhancement, helps them change their perceptions of opioid effects on their lives (Gossop et al., 2008). Group therapy is emphasized for its role in maintaining self-control and restraint, and it is more cost-effective compared to individualized therapy (Galanter, 2018; Fals-Stewart et al., 2004).

2. Stimulant addiction

Stimulants are substances that increase activity in the body and brain, raising levels of physiological or nervous activity in the CNS. Common stimulants include cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription medications such as Adderall and Ritalin.

The symptoms of stimulant addiction include heightened alertness, excessive energy, decreased appetite, increased heart rate and blood pressure, insomnia, rapid speech, paranoia, and hallucinations.

Causes include the desire to enhance performance, achieve weight loss, self-medicate for depression or ADHD, and the increase in dopamine levels leading to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.

The misuse of prescription stimulants, antidepressants, sedatives, or other drugs during adolescence can negatively impact brain and body development​​.

An example of stimulant addiction is someone with methamphetamine use disorder enjoying the euphoric rush of using methamphetamines to the point where they will use it despite the physical, mental, and societal consequences.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) warns that misusing prescription stimulants, antidepressants, sedatives, or other drugs during adolescence can negatively impact the development of the brain and body. 

Treatment for stimulant addiction typically involves behavioral therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management, along with support groups and peer counseling. Professional counseling is also essential to address the psychological and emotional issues associated with addiction.

3. Alcohol Use Disorder

alcohol addiction

Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), involves a physical and emotional dependency on alcohol. According to the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 29.5 million people ages 12 and older (10.5% in this age group) had AUD in the past year. It is characterized by the inability to manage drinking habits despite negative personal and social consequences.

Symptoms include a strong craving for alcohol, inability to limit drinking, withdrawal symptoms (e.g., shaking, nausea, anxiety), high tolerance, and neglect of responsibilities. The causes of AUD include genetic predisposition, social factors, environmental cues, psychological stress, and co-occurring mental health disorders.

An example of Alcohol Use Disorder is someone who starts drinking to unwind after work but eventually finds themselves needing multiple drinks throughout the day to function normally and continues to drink despite the troubles it causes at home and professionally.

Treatment for alcohol use disorder typically involves a combination of detoxification under medical supervision, behavioral counseling, and therapy. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) play a crucial role in providing peer support and accountability. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is particularly effective; a 2017 study by Kathleen M. Carroll and Brian D. Kiluk published in the Psychology of Addictive Behaviors reports that at least 58% of those who receive CBT for alcohol use disorder treatment fare better than their counterparts who do not. Additionally, medications such as disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate may be prescribed to help reduce the desire to drink, manage withdrawal symptoms, and prevent relapse.

4. Hallucinogenic addiction

hallucinogen addiction

Hallucinogens are a class of drugs known for causing profound alterations in sensory and perceptual experiences, often enhancing or distorting a person’s view of reality. Examples include LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), and PCP.

Symptoms include distorted reality, visual hallucinations, altered sounds, anxiety, paranoia, delusional thinking, nausea, dizziness, and palpitations. Causes include curiosity-driven experimentation, the desire to enhance spiritual experiences, escape from reality, and psychological dependence due to stress or peer influence.

Hallucinogen use is typically experimental and less common than other forms of drug use, but its impact on mental health can be significant​​.

A person experimenting with LSD might initially use it out of curiosity but eventually find themselves using it frequently to escape reality, leading to psychological dependence where they use the drug despite it’s negative consequences. It’s important to note that hallucinogens do not cause physical dependence and instead case psychological dependence so there are no medications to help with the physical aspect of hallucinogen addiction recovery.

Treatment for hallucinogen addiction typically includes psychotherapy to address and change drug-taking behaviors, support groups for ongoing support and understanding, and education about the risks associated with drug use to promote informed decisions.

6. Nicotine Addiction

nicotine addiction

Nicotine addiction is the compulsive use of tobacco products despite the harmful health consequences. Nicotine, an addictive chemical found in tobacco, quickly stimulates the brain and is considered as addictive as heroin or cocaine.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2021, among people aged 12 or older, 22.0% (or about 61.6 million people) reported using tobacco products or vaping nicotine in the past 30 days, 15.6% (or about 43.6 million people) reported smoking cigarettes in the past 30 days, and 4.7% (or about 13.2 million people) reported vaping nicotine in the past 30 days.

Symptoms include strong cravings, irritability, anxiety, depression, and difficulty concentrating when trying to quit, along with physical symptoms like increased appetite and weight gain. Causes include the mood-altering effects of nicotine, genetic factors, social environment, and stress.

Someone addicted to nicotine might start smoking socially but soon find themselves needing a cigarette to handle stress, leading to a daily habit that becomes difficult to break.

Treatment options for Tobacco and nicotine addiction are listed below:

  • Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) like patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers, or nasal sprays to reduce withdrawal symptoms and smoking urges
  • Non-nicotine medications such as bupropion and varenicline to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms
  • Behavioral therapies and support groups to assist individuals in quitting smoking

8. Inhalant Addiction

Inhalant addiction involves the repeated inhaling of vapors from household or industrial chemicals to achieve a euphoric effect. Commonly abused inhalants include solvents, aerosols, gasses, and nitrites, known colloquially as “huffing.”

Symptoms include dizziness, euphoria, lethargy, slurred speech, lack of coordination, and irritability. Long-term abuse can lead to neurological damage and impaired cognitive function. Causes include easy accessibility, low cost, rapid onset of euphoria, peer pressure, and stress.

Inhalant use is more prevalent among adolescents, with significant risks for long-term brain damage​​.

An example of inhalant abuse is a teenager who might start inhaling household chemicals out of curiosity or peer pressure but soon become addicted due to the quick and intense high they provide, leading to repeated use and serious health consequences.

Treatment for inhalant addiction involves detoxification, supportive care for withdrawal symptoms, comprehensive behavioral interventions, and counseling to address psychological aspects and prevent relapse.

9. Depressant Addiction

depressant addiction

Depressants are a class of drugs that reduce arousal and stimulation in the user, affecting the central nervous system (CNS) by slowing down brain function and enhancing the production of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). In 2021, nearly 14% of overdose deaths involving opioids also involved benzodiazepines, a type of prescription sedative commonly prescribed for anxiety or to help with insomnia. Common depressants include alcohol, benzodiazepines (like Valium and Xanax), and barbiturates. Benzodiazepines and sedative-hypnotics both fall under the broader category of depressants, which are substances that slow down brain activity. However, there are some distinctions between these terms based on their primary use and effects.

Symptoms of depressant addiction include slurred speech, confusion, disorientation, lowered blood pressure, respiratory depression, decreased motor coordination, and severe withdrawal symptoms. Addiction is often driven by a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors, with individuals using depressants for their calming effects, especially those with underlying mental health issues.

What are the most common benzodiazepine addictions?

The most common benzodiazepine addictions are associated with drugs frequently prescribed for anxiety, panic disorders, and insomnia. Here is a list of some of the most commonly abused benzodiazepines:

  1. Alprazolam (Xanax): Commonly prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders, it has a high potential for abuse and addiction due to its fast-acting effects. Xanax addiction has severe withdrawal symptoms.
  2. Diazepam (Valium): Used for anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures, it is another benzodiazepine with a significant potential for addiction.
  3. Lorazepam (Ativan): Prescribed for anxiety and used as a sedative before surgeries, it is known for its potential for dependence and abuse.
  4. Clonazepam (Klonopin): Used to treat seizures and panic disorders, it has a longer half-life, which can contribute to clonazepam dependence and addiction.
  5. Chlordiazepoxide (Librium): Often prescribed for anxiety and alcohol withdrawal symptoms, it also carries a risk of addiction.
  6. Temazepam (Restoril): Commonly used as a sleep aid, it can lead to dependency and abuse when used for extended periods.
  7. Oxazepam (Serax): Used for anxiety and alcohol withdrawal, it is less commonly abused than some other benzodiazepines but still carries a risk of addiction.

These medications, while effective for their intended medical purposes, can lead to tolerance, physical dependence, and addiction if misused or taken for extended periods.

What are the Symptoms of Drug Addiction?

drug addiction symptoms

The symptoms of drug addiction range from compulsive cravings to tolerance, loss of control, social withdrawal, neglected responsibilities and continued use despite negative consequences. Here are some common symptoms that may indicate the presence of addiction:

  • Compulsive cravings: Strong and persistent urges or cravings to engage in the use of drugs, often leading to a loss of control over consumption or engagement.
  • Increased tolerance: Needing larger amounts of the substance or engaging in more intense behaviors to achieve the desired effect or experiencing diminished effects with continued use. According to recent facts about tolerance from CDC, almost 50% of drug overdose deaths involved the use of multiple drugs. Additionally, tolerance to a particular drug also increases to other drugs in the same class. This is known as cross-tolerance.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: Experiencing physical or psychological symptoms when attempting to stop or reduce substance use or engagement in addictive behaviors. These symptoms can include anxiety, irritability, restlessness, nausea, sweating, insomnia, and depression.
  • Loss of control: Difficulty limiting or controlling the frequency, duration, or amount of substance use or engagement in addictive behaviors, despite repeated unsuccessful attempts to quit or cut back.
  • Neglected responsibilities: Neglecting or abandoning previously important responsibilities at work, school, or home due to preoccupation with the addictive substance or behavior.
  • Interpersonal problems: Experiencing conflicts or strained relationships with family members, friends, or colleagues due to the consequences of addiction, such as lying, stealing, or engaging in risky behaviors.
  • Social withdrawal: Withdrawing from social activities, hobbies, or interests previously enjoyed in favor of substance use.
  • Continued use despite negative consequences: Persisting in using the substance even when aware of the adverse physical, psychological, social, or financial consequences associated with them.
  • Preoccupation with addiction: Spending a significant amount of time thinking about obtaining, using, or recovering from the substance.
  • Loss of interest in other activities: Showing a diminished interest in previously enjoyable activities or hobbies that are unrelated to the addiction.
  • Denial and secrecy: Denying or minimizing the severity of the addiction when confronted by others, and engaging in secretive behaviors to hide the extent of substance use or engagement in addictive behaviors.

What are the Causes of Drug Addiction?

drug addiction causes

The causes of drug addiction are categorized into biological, psychological, social, and environmental influences. Here are some key causes of addiction:

What are the biological causes of drug addiction?

The biological causes of drug addiction include genetic predisposition, brain chemistry and co-occurring mental health disorders:

  • Genetic factors: Genetic predisposition plays a role in addiction susceptibility, as certain individuals may inherit a higher vulnerability to developing addictive behaviors. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, genetics account for 40% – 60% of addiction risk.
  • Brain chemistry and physiology: Drug addiction involves alterations in brain chemistry, particularly in the reward and pleasure centers of the brain. These changes can create a heightened response to substances or behaviors, reinforcing the cycle of addiction.
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders: Individuals with underlying mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma-related disorders, will turn to substances or behaviors as a means of self-medication, leading to addiction.

What are the Environmental Causes of Drug Addiction?

The environment in which a person grows up and lives can significantly impact addiction risk. Factors such as exposure to substance use, peer influence, family dynamics, and socioeconomic circumstances can contribute to the development of addiction.

  • Availability and accessibility: The availability and ease of access to substances can play a significant role in the initiation and progression of addiction.
  • Early-life experiences: Adverse childhood experiences, including neglect, abuse, trauma, or unstable family environments, can increase the likelihood of developing addiction later in life, as individuals may seek substances or behaviors to cope with emotional pain or stress.

What are the Social and Cultural Causes of Drug Addiction?

Social norms, societal attitudes toward substance use, and cultural influences can shape an individual’s perception and acceptance of addictive substances, potentially contributing to their development.

What are the Psychological Factors that Cause Addiction?

Psychological vulnerabilities, such as low self-esteem, impulsivity, sensation-seeking tendencies, or a history of poor coping skills, can contribute to the development of an addiction to drugs. Note that the causes of drug addiction are complex and multifactorial, and the interplay of these factors can vary from person to person.

What are the 6 Stages of Drug Addiction?

drug addiction stages

Drug addiction typically progresses from experimentation through relapse, which can vary in duration and intensity for each individual. While the specific stages may be experienced differently by different people, here is a general outline:

1. Experimentation

This stage involves initial exposure to substances, driven by curiosity, peer influence, or a desire for new experiences. It may involve trying substances infrequently or in social settings.

2. Regular Use

In this stage, drug use becomes more frequent and begins to serve a purpose, such as coping with stress, enhancing mood, or escaping from problems. Individuals may still believe they have control over their substance use.

3. Risky Use

Drug use escalates, and individuals engage in more frequent and higher doses of drug. They may start taking risks, such as driving under the influence or engaging in unsafe behaviors while using.

4. Dependence

Dependence is characterized by the body and brain becoming accustomed to the presence of the substance. Physical and psychological dependence develops, leading to withdrawal symptoms when substance use is reduced or stopped. Cravings and a loss of control over substance use become more pronounced.

5. Addiction

At this stage, individuals experience a compulsive need to use drugs despite negative consequences. Drug use becomes the primary focus of their lives, often at the expense of relationships, work, and personal well-being. Efforts to quit or cut down on drug use are usually unsuccessful.

6. Withdrawal and Relapse

When individuals attempt to stop or reduce drug use, they may experience withdrawal symptoms, which can be physically and psychologically distressing. The risk of relapse is high during this stage, as individuals may turn back to drug use to alleviate withdrawal symptoms or cope with cravings.

Not everyone linearly progresses through these stages, and individuals may enter treatment or seek help at any stage. Early intervention and treatment can help interrupt the progression of drug addiction and increase the likelihood of successful recovery.

What are the Treatment Options for Drug Addiction?

drug addiction treatment

Treatment options for addiction vary depending on the type of addiction and severity. It can range from detoxification to family therapy. According to NIDA (2020), effective treatment must address all aspects of addiction, not just substance use, to improve recovery outcomes and reduce the likelihood of relapse. Here’s a list of the treatment options used for addiction. 

1. Detoxification (Detox)

Detoxification is often the first step in addiction treatment, primarily for substance addictions. It involves the supervised withdrawal from addictive substances in a safe and supportive environment, with medical assistance to manage withdrawal symptoms.

2. Inpatient Rehabilitation

Inpatient or residential rehabilitation programs provide intensive, 24/7 care in a structured environment. They offer a range of therapies, counseling, support groups, and holistic approaches to address the physical, psychological, and social aspects of addiction.

3. Outpatient Rehabilitation

Outpatient programs allow individuals to receive treatment while living at home. They offer flexibility in scheduling and are suitable for individuals with a strong support system and a lower risk of relapse. Outpatient programs include individual and group counseling, therapy sessions, and support group participation.

4. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT combines medications with behavioral therapies to treat substance addictions. Medications help manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and normalize brain chemistry. This approach is commonly used for opioid and alcohol addictions.

5. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT is a widely used therapeutic approach that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with addiction. It focuses on developing coping strategies, enhancing problem-solving skills, and preventing relapse.

6. Motivational Interviewing (MI)

MI is a counseling technique that helps individuals explore and resolve their ambivalence about changing addictive behaviors. It aims to enhance motivation and commitment to recovery by addressing underlying motivations and concerns.

7. 12-Step Programs

Programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) provide peer support and a structured framework for recovery through group meetings, mentorship, and working through the 12 steps of recovery.

8. Holistic Approaches

Holistic interventions, such as yoga, meditation, art therapy, and mindfulness practices, can complement traditional treatment methods by promoting self-awareness, stress reduction, emotional healing, and overall well-being.

9. Family Therapy

Family therapy involves the participation of family members in the treatment process. It aims to improve communication, address dysfunctional dynamics, and provide support and education for both the individual with addiction and their loved ones.

10. Aftercare and Continuing Support

After completing a formal treatment program, individuals benefit from ongoing support and aftercare services. This may include outpatient counseling, support groups, sober living environments, and relapse prevention strategies.

How does drug addiction affect family dynamics?

Drug addiction significantly impacts family dynamics, often creating a stressful and sometimes volatile environment. Families may experience increased conflict, mistrust, and emotional distress as they cope with a loved one’s addictive behaviors. Financial difficulties are also common, as resources may be diverted towards sustaining the addiction or dealing with legal troubles. In terms of emotional effects, family members often feel a range of emotions from guilt and shame to anger and fear. Family therapy is frequently recommended as part of the treatment process to address these issues, heal relationships, and improve communication and coping strategies.

What role do neurotransmitters play in drug addiction?

Neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin play crucial roles in the development and continuation of drug addiction. Drugs often mimic or enhance the actions of neurotransmitters, leading to altered mood, behavior, and perceptions. For instance, stimulants like cocaine increase dopamine levels quickly, which significantly affects the brain’s reward system, reinforcing drug use as a pleasurable habit. Over time, these drugs can alter brain chemistry and circuitry, leading to dependency and addiction.

Are there cultural differences in the perception and treatment of drug addiction?

Cultural factors significantly influence how drug addiction is perceived, stigmatized, and treated across different societies according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2019). Understanding cultural nuances is crucial for developing effective and culturally sensitive addiction interventions.

How Many People Recover from Drug Addiction?

Recovery rates from drug addiction vary widely. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recovery rates will range between 40-60% for those receiving treatment. Long-term success, defined by sustained recovery, is seen in approximately 25-50% or more of individuals who actively engage in comprehensive treatment programs and utilize relapse prevention strategies. 

What is the impact of drug addiction on the brain?

Drug addiction significantly impacts the brain by altering its structure and function. Addictive substances can disrupt neurotransmitter systems, which are critical for communication within the brain. This disruption affects areas responsible for reward, motivation, learning, and memory. Over time, addiction can lead to the weakening of brain circuits that control impulse, making it increasingly difficult for individuals to resist the drug. These changes not only contribute to the compulsive drug-seeking behavior seen in addiction but also affect cognitive functions and emotional regulation, potentially leading to long-lasting brain damage.

Ryan Wakim MD
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Dr. Wakim is a board-certified psychiatrist with a passion for and expertise in addiction, mood disorders, trauma-related disorders and the subspecialty of interventional psychiatry. He obtained his medical degree from West Virginia University where he also completed his residency training, finishing as chief resident. Dr. Wakim co-founded and served as the CEO of Transformations leading to a successful merger with Shore Capital in May 2021. He is purpose driven towards improving the standard of and removing stigma related to behavioral healthcare. Dr. Wakim enjoys golf, traveling and time spent with his two dogs, Lulu and Rayna.

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