Is Addiction a Disease?
As a Disease, Addiction Requires Medical Treatment
To the uninformed and inexperienced, drug addiction can seem like a mental failing, one that simple willpower should be able to overcome. This popular misconception about addiction and how it impacts an addict’s brain has led to some devastating consequences. Whether it’s reduced funding for drug addiction treatment, mishandling by the justice system, or lack of family support, the misunderstanding of addiction as a disease, continues to make seeking the ideal treatment more challenging.
The truth about alcohol and drug addiction is that it is not merely a personal failing. All the willpower in the world will not overcome the physical hold these powerful drugs can have on people trapped in active addiction. If you struggle with your own addiction or drug dependency don’t make the mistake of feeling that you should be able to rely solely on willpower to overcome the issue.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today at 877.969.1993 to learn how we can help.
The Definition of Addiction
The dictionary definition of addiction is “the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing or activity.” By that definition, people can be addicted to drugs, alcohol, high-adrenaline sports, or even chocolate.
Of course, some of these addictions are more dangerous than others, and you are unlikely to die from overeating chocolate or drinking too much coffee. Drug and alcohol addiction are often deadly, and it is essential to seek help as quickly as possible.
How Substance Abuse Affects the Brain
One of the most insidious aspects of substance abuse involves how it affects the brain, which is the most potent and susceptible organ in the body. Unlike other forms of dependency, drug and alcohol addiction can actually change the brain’s physical structure, making the addiction that much worse and more difficult to overcome.
When an individual develops an addiction to drugs or alcohol, the brain begins to crave the stimulation. When that effect does not arrive in the form of more drugs, there is a physical response in the brain that can trigger severe pain and even seizures. These physical responses are why relying on professional help remains needed to truly overcome the power of dependence.
Why Willpower Is Not Enough
When downplaying the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, a critical mistake is made. Due to a fundamental misunderstanding of what addiction is, how it takes hold, and the physical brain changes it creates, many well-meaning people fail to grasp the disease’s true nature. And make no mistake, drug addiction is a disease.
In fact, medical terms for the disorders do exist, including opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder. And just like any other disease, these disorders deserve a concerted treatment effort, one that relies on proven science and not the simple notion of willpower.
No one would tell a cancer patient to snap out of it or a person with diabetes to use willpower to control their blood sugar levels. Yet people ridicule others struggling with addiction every day, blaming them for their dependencies while denying them the treatments they need to recover and live a better life.
Addiction Is a Treatable Disease
Drug and alcohol addiction are real diseases that deserve professional treatment, including rehabilitation based on science, medication guided detox, and professional therapy for treating these severe illnesses.
If someone you care about has been struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, it is time to start treating these conditions with the seriousness they deserve. Your loved one is not suffering from a lack of willpower or failure of the spirit – they are in the throes of a perilous illness, one that can all too often be fatal.
Getting help for substance use disorder, for yourself or a loved one, can be the key to success and even survival. You would never put off cancer treatment or forego filling an insulin prescription, so why would you wait to get help for your substance abuse disorder? Support is available in practical and proven treatments, so there is no reason to wait even a single day longer. Reach out today to start receiving the treatment necessary to overcome the disease of addiction.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.