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Why is Drug Addiction Considered a Disease?

The initial choice to take the drug may be your own, but how your brain reacts and rewires itself is not up to you. Seeing addiction as a disease can make individuals feel hopeless about change and helpless, with no possibility of control over their own behavior. That doesn’t mean it is easy to gain control of the behaviors involved in addiction—but it is possible, and people do it every day. The disease model of addiction also suggests to people that they existing in a fragile state of recovery forever, always in danger of failing. The most noticeable changes brought about by addiction are in the brain.

However, the answer and the process is far from simple and much more dramatic. Learn how this disease moves the user from choosing to use to feeling compelled to use, perpetuating addiction. If drug or alcohol use has interfered with your everyday life, you’ve prioritized substance use over other things in your life, or you’ve tried to stop using a substance and could not, treatment can help. The general belief among those who do not view addiction as a disease is that, unlike other conditions that are accepted as diseases, people have a choice whether or not to use a drug.

This is why addiction is often described as a “chase” where people are always seeking out that “first time” feeling. If a person chooses to regain that control they will be faced with behavioral factors that could make matters difficult. Symptoms of withdrawal can be horrendous and often result in a person using again to escape from the traumatizing experience. Additionally, the NCADD states that studies of adopted children and twins raised apart have shown the risk of developing a substance abuse problem tends to run in families. Indeed, the United States is reported to consume over 80 percent of the world’s opioids, while representing less than 5 percent of the world’s population. Our complicity through egregious opioid overprescribing, and the sheer scale of drug overdose deaths, has meant we can no longer turn a blind eye.

why is drug addiction considered a disease

A disease is an abnormal ailment that negatively affects the function or structure of a being. It’s a condition that isn’t “normal,” causing pain, dysfunction, distress, social problems, or death. In some cases, someone could overcome addiction without medical intervention or the support of others.

Is Drug Addiction a Brain Disease?

The School Domain – The increased risk of drug abuse can also be tied to an individual’s relationship to their educational environment. A student’s performance, participation, and commitment to their learning and school, in general, can be a major risk factor in developing a substance abuse problem. It involves compulsive behavior with the use of one or more substances regardless of health and social consequences. Addiction is caused by a combination of behavioral, environmental, and biological factors. In the formation of addictions, there is never only one influence.

why is drug addiction considered a disease

The brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical responsible for feelings of pleasure. To understand how addiction changes the brain, it is important to know how drugs impact the brain. Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Since the drug substances have already interfered with how the brain and neurotransmitters work, the only way to address the addiction is to use a combination of medical and therapeutic interventions.

Like a Disease, Drug Addiction Is Often Totally Uncontrollable

Addiction is a medical issue – a disease – and requires guidance from experts to control. A disease is a medical condition that restricts your body from functioning normally. Just as depression or bipolar disorder affects how neurotransmitters work in the brain, substances like alcohol or opiates stimulate different centers of the brain, as well. This means that these substances create conditions for a new normal within your brain.

This is why addiction is considered a disease – the choice to use no longer becomes a choice. Addiction is a disease and it is very similar to other diseases. All disease disrupts the normal and healthy functioning of the body. They damage organs, cause severe side effects, and are preventable and treatable.

  • If the person is on a recovery path and no longer using the substance, it may take several months before the whole body system adjusts back to normalcy.
  • Punishment can be provided alongside a “treatment” plan that focuses on promoting insight, motivation to change, and prosocial behaviors , all of which are fundamental to addiction recovery.
  • People who are sick deserve to seek medical treatment without fear of judgment.
  • However, we must insist that individuals struggling with addiction need to find a way of overcoming the stigmatization and seek professional help.
  • Don’t allow drug addiction to continue ruining your life, get in contact with us today and get started on your recovery.
  • Every person will have a different “enjoyment” during each addiction.

Once seen as a moral failure, addiction has more recently been viewed strictly as a medical problem. The push to regard addiction as a disease is well-intentioned—driven by a desire to lessen stigma—but fails to account for the many facets and facts of the condition. Worse, it robs sufferers of the sense that they can overcome the problem with courage, creativity, and some hard work.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency and need immediate care, call 911. Dopamine is commonly referred to as the “feel good” neurotransmitter. The central nervous system usually releases it in large quantities whenever a person has feelings of satisfaction and a real pleasure. This leads to the overproduction of dopamine which creates the euphoric or “high” state that pushes one to aggressively seek ways to repeat the pleasurable feelings.

Drug addiction is not a moral failing or the result of low willpower. Nearly 841,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose. Eventually, this leads to dependence, meaning that their body cannot function normally without the substance. If usage eco sober house rating stops at this point, one will experience a series of severe withdrawal symptoms until when they use the substance again, or their body returns to a normal state. However, recent studies have unearthed evidence contradicting the traditional understanding.

The Disease Model of Addiction

Obviously, this makes no sense, but to the individual with a personality disorder, this seems completely rational. Anyone who has spent time with drug addicts will know that many people refer to it as a disease. Can drug addiction actually be classed as a disease, or is this simply another one of the endless excuses drug addicts make for their behaviour?

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the Addiction Group helpline is a private and convenient solution. Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers . A person can abuse or be addicted to just about any substance, but some things carry a greater risk of addiction than others. People with a drug addiction have intense urges or cravings to use their drug of choice. Their focus is entirely on obtaining the drug and their thoughts are consumed by their addiction.

why is drug addiction considered a disease

Therefore, as your tolerance to certain drug substances increase, your urge to consume relatively large amounts of the substance will also increase. At MedMark, we take a patient-centered approach to opioid addiction treatment. Major advancements have been made in addiction science to help create treatments for those who seek them. Methods such as counseling and medical assistance that help people deal with withdrawal symptoms and the accompanying psychological effects have become more accessible to millions of Americans. While basic and pleasurable actions will release dopamine, so will unhealthy ones like using drugs or alcohol. Drugs often trigger this release faster and to a much higher degree.

Why Do Some People Claim Addiction is Not a Disease?

According to information provided by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence , about half the risk of developing an addiction is due to genetic factors. Meaning, that if their family has a history of addiction, that person is likely to develop a similar addiction. This thought process suggests that brain chemistry, brain structure, and genetic abnormalities that cause human behavior are related to the predisposition of addictions among relatives.

Left untreated, drug addiction and other diseases are potentially fatal. People with substance use disorder need more and more of their drug of choice to achieve the same effect. Many attempts to stop using the drug but cannot without professional addiction treatment. Like many diseases, drug addiction may take a long-term and intensive treatment to overcome. It can mean something as simple as attending AA or NA meetings.

It is caused by a multitude of factors including one’s genetics, development, psychology, and environment. There are many effective treatments available including therapy and group programs. To complicate things even further, some people are more prone to drug addiction than others.

Bridges of Hope is an accredited drug and alcohol detox and rehabilitation center with customized programs tailored to each individual patient. Predispositions to addiction can vary from one person to another because each person has a unique physiology and genetic makeup. Every person will have a different “enjoyment” during each addiction. This “enjoyment” is what makes some activities more addictive. The ability to temper these “enjoyments” with rational thoughts is a brain function that also varies from person to person. If you are new to the thought of addiction as a disease, this article will help you better understand this concept.

Ultimately, drug addiction can be considered a disease because in many cases it eventually kills you. To normal people, this may seem completely insane, and unless you have a personality disorder this will be almost impossible to understand. All you have to know is that the person has a mental health condition that makes recovery from drug addiction supremely difficult. The easiest way to look at thechanges made in the brainduring the height of addiction is to look at people who are in recovery.

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