Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. Founded by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives in 1996, BAW unites the efforts of universities, hospitals, patient groups, government agencies, service organizations, professional associations, and schools from around the world in a week-long celebration of the brain.
During BAW, campaign partners organize creative and innovative activities in their communities to educate and excite people of all ages about the brain and brain research. Partners bring to the campaign their own unique perspectives and messages about the brain: an interest in a specific disease or disorder; a concern for early childhood development; an interest in successful aging; or a commitment to maximizing human potential.
“Addiction is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long-lasting, and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs,” according to Dr. Nora D. Volkow, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
“Drug use can eventually lead to dramatic changes in neurons and brain circuits. These changes can still be present even after the person has stopped taking drugs. This is more likely to happen when a drug is taken over and over,” according NIDA for Teens.
“Brain-imaging studies from people addicted to drugs show physical changes in areas of the brain that are critical for judgment, decisionmaking, learning, memory, and behavior control,” according to NIDA for Teens.
“There are treatments, but there is no cure for drug addiction yet. Addiction is often a disease that is long-lasting (sometimes referred to as chronic). As with other chronic diseases, like diabetes or heart disease, people learn to manage their condition,” according to NIDA for Teens.
“The important point is that even when someone relapses and begins abusing drugs again, they should not give up hope. Rather, they need to go back to treatment or change their current treatment,” according to NIDA for Teens.