IS ADDICTION REALLY A DISEASE?
- July 14, 2018
Quite often, we hear individuals argue that addiction is not a disease. They often compare how a person develops cancer to individuals living with addiction. Yes, it is true that both diseases come on in very different manners. This does not negate the fact that both are diseases.
What is a disease?
A disease is defined as a disorder or incorrectly functioning body system or organ resulting from developmental or genetic error, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors. Although it is undeniable that, in some cases, drug use begins as a choice, the continual use of a substance is often physically out of an addict’s control
What is happening?
When a person begins using drugs, their brain begins to rewire itself. Things like family, love, and exercise no longer result in the euphoric release of dopamine in the brain. Now, drug use causes this drastic response. Drug addicts are rewarded by their brain for this type of behavior. The brain loses its ability to recognize drug use as harmful. Instead, it takes control of an individual and drives them to do more. The body and brain continue to develop negatively from drug use. The pleasure area of the brain now responds to negative behavior and the area of the brain that people use to rationalize behavior now views reluctance to use as a negative behavior. As a result, the brain rewards people for drug use and causes intense anxiety and fear when a person goes without drugs.
Not only does the brain in addicts respond to the behavior differently, but their body and mental state are often altered as well. Individuals addicted to drugs often have problems at work and school. Quite often, addicts do not prioritize these things and stop paying attention or quitting altogether. They may begin losing weight and neglect their appearance. Their bodies often begin releasing unusual body odors and there is drastic teeth decay in some users.
The body begins to respond to a lack of substance use as well. This response can be physical and/or psychological and present itself in the form of withdrawal. Withdrawal can present itself in several forms. Some of the most common symptoms of withdrawal are:
– Intense cravings for the substance
– Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
– Problems sleeping
– Disorientation or delayed in response
– Depression or anxiety
– Hallucinations and/or paranoia
When a person uses drugs routinely, their body develops both a tolerance and a craving for it. These feelings are often beyond an addict’s control. In order to tackle the issue of addiction, addicts need to go through proper detox and treatment. Individuals with a substance use disorder need to learn new healthier habits and they need to rewire their brain into responding appropriately to drugs and other negative behaviors.
This may seem like an impossible task, but with proper treatment, recovery can be a reality. At Asana Recovery, we have an exceptional detox program that provides patients with 24-hour monitoring to make sure they experience fewer withdrawal symptoms and get through the detoxification process comfortably. We offer an inpatient treatment program that helps addicts develop new coping skills and guiding them toward more healthy behavior.
Addiction is a disease. If it goes untreated, it can kill you. Call us today at (949) 416-3341 so you can begin battling this disease today.