Addiction Help: Is Addiction Really a Disease?

Feb 19, 2021 | recovery

Addiction Help

Whether addiction is a disease or a choice has been a question of great debate. In this blog post, we share some compelling evidence that will help you decide.

It’s Not “Just an Excuse”

Let’s be clear. Referring to addiction as a disease is not a means of excusing the behavior of an addict. Instead, an understanding of the disease model can provide us with valuable information that changes the way we relate to the addict.

The disease model of addiction is backed by multiple rigorous scientific studies that show how substance abuse disrupts brain regions that regulate reward, learning and self-control, among other functions. As a result of active addiction, these persistent changes in the brain prohibit the addict from simply conjuring “willpower” to stop using and change their lifestyle.

Today, most medical associations define addiction as a disease. A few examples include:

It’s Not About a “Drug of Choice”

When we look at addiction as a disease, we do not focus on a single drug or alcohol as the problem. Taking the substance away does not solve the problem. If an addict’s “drug of choice” is taken away, they may substitute another substance or a behavior in an attempt to increase the depleted dopamine level.

It’s Treatable

Addiction is a medical disease, but just like diabetes or cancer, it is treatable. With dedication, support and—when necessary—professional intervention, addiction can be managed so that an individual can live a full, happy life in recovery. This list of resources curated by Hope Valley Recovery includes some of the many ways to seek help for addiction.

Author: Amy Glinn, MSW, LSW, LICDC-CS.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS A PROBLEM WITH SUBSTANCE ABUSE, PLEASE CONTACT US OR CALL HOPE VALLEY RECOVERY AT (740) 500-1391.

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