The terms "addiction," "chemical dependency," "substance abuse," and "substance use disorder" tend to be used interchangeably in reference to the compulsive use of alcohol, over-the-counter medications, prescribed drugs, illegal drugs, or other mood-altering substances despite harmful consequences. Doctors, treatment providers, other healthcare professionals, and insurance companies typically use the term "substance use disorder" to describe addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Addiction has been recognized as a disease by the American Medical Association since 1956. The American Society of Addiction Medicine describes addiction as "a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry." Like other chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma and hypertension, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. And like other chronic diseases, addiction can be effectively treated and managed successfully. Learn more about the different types of addiction and how they affect you. Learn more with our What You Need to Know series. This program is ideal for educating patients and their families, school faculty and staff, behavioral and mental health professionals, and more.