Individuals often argue about whether addiction is actually a disease. One of the newest trends going around is that addiction is not a disease because it is something a person chooses to do. Although there are several diseases that individuals have as a result of chosen activities, it does not negate from the fact that it actually is a disease in every sense of the term.
What is a disease?
In order to understand what addiction is, you must first have a thorough understanding of what a disease actually is. In medical terms, a disease is defined as a body system or organ functioning improperly as the result of toxicity, unfavorable environmental factors, or a genetic error.
Although individuals may begin using drugs initially as a choice, it quickly transforms how the brain functions. When a person begins using drugs, the brain rewires itself into rewarding negative behavior. Family, love, and things typically considered being positive no longer matter to addicts. These things do not cause their brain to release dopamine. Instead, drug use releases euphoria dramatically, resulting in the brain recognizing this as a positive thing instead.
Over time, the brain loses the ability to recognize drug use as a negative and harmful thing. Instead, the brain takes control of the user and drives them to do the drug more.
As the use continues, so does the rewiring. Over time the body and brain develop negatively, causing the pleasure area of the brain to respond only to negative behavior. People lose their ability to rationalize decisions and behavior. Their brain forces them to think that reluctance to use is actually a negative and harmful behavior instead.
Changes often do not stop there. Individuals with addiction often suffer from problems at work, school, and relationships. These negative behaviors continue to compound until it is too late.
The body responds to not having substances as well
Individuals may think that addiction only impacts addicts while they are actively using. Individuals that try to stop using drugs, or are forced to go extended periods without using, often experience a condition known as withdrawal. Withdrawal can present itself in several forms including:
- Overwhelming cravings for a substance
- Nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting
- Difficulties sleeping or staying asleep
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Delayed response times
As an addict continues to use drugs habitually, the body forms a tolerance and a craving for it simultaneously. These feelings are beyond an addict’s control and often require detox and treatment. Individuals with addictions often have to learn new and healthier habits in order to rewire their brain back to how it functioned prior to introducing drugs.
Although overcoming addiction may seem like an impossible task, it is something individuals can achieve by utilizing an appropriate treatment program. At Asana Recovery, we help patients combat their addiction by providing a safe environment for them to detox.
Once patients complete the detoxification process, we have an exceptional inpatient treatment that helps patients focus on recovering and developing a healthier way of life. Call us today at (949) 438-4504 to get help with your addiction.