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NIDA

Why Are Drugs So Hard to Quit

Quitting drugs is hard because addiction is a brain disease. Your brain is like a control tower that sends out signals to direct your actions and choices. Addiction changes the signals in your brain and makes it hard to feel OK without the drug. This video from NIDA explains addiction in simple terms and offers a hotline to help you or a loved one find treatment.

Transcript

Ever hear someone with a drug problem talk about quitting?

And then they try to quit on their own, with no help.

They tell their friends they've given up drugs forever.

It usually doesn't work.

Eventually, they slip and start using again.

Why are drugs so hard to quit?

Because addiction is a brain disease.

Addiction is when you feel a strong urge to keep taking a drug, even if it is causing harm. To stop, ask for help.

Your brain is like a control tower.

It sends out signals that direct your actions and choices.

When you take drugs, the chemical signals in your brain change. This affects your choices, your actions and even the way you feel.

The part of your brain that lets you feel pleasure can be changed by drugs. Normally, this pleasure center is active when you eat, fall in love or experience something else you enjoy.

After a while, the drug becomes more important.

When someone takes a drug, they first feel a "rush" or "high."

But over time, the "high" is not as strong. And they need the drug to keep from feeling bad.

This is what happens when you are addicted.

But you don't have to stay that way. Quitting drugs is hard, but it can be done.

If you or someone you love has a problem, get help.

Find drug treatment near you. Call 1-800-662-HELP. Want to learn more? Find easy-to-read drug facts at www.easyread.drugabuse.gov.

This page was last updated April 2013