Drug Rehabilitation Blog

The Dangers of Allowing Addicts to Believe Addiction is a Disease

There have been multiple different viewpoints upon the exact classification of addiction.  Whether it be a disease, a genetic trait, a moral flaw, behavioral problem etc.  Addiction appearing a disease is a very common one, and this idea has been the subject of much debate over the years.  The truth is, when comparing addiction to traditional diseases, this classification does not really stick true.

Diseases like cancer, diabetes or polio, all have been traced and the precise source discovered.  And for the most part, they have a series of treatments that are uniform and workable as well.  Whereas with addiction, though, there has been speculation as to the exact cause or source, and it can vary for individuals.  Plus, there is the fact that the same treatment does not work for everyone with addiction.  Many diseases are also mostly physiological and beyond the person’s control in many cases. And while addiction can bring about a physiological dependence, there is no physiological cause or root gene that is behind it.

How Labeling Addiction as a Disease Can Hinder Treatment

This addiction being a disease mindset can potentially be counterproductive to a person’s being able to recover.  Some have even used it as a type of justification for them being addicted, and why they will, “Never be able to stop.”  Treatment programs or mentalities that indoctrinate addicts with this end up giving them a reason not to stop, believing that their addiction is beyond their control.  And while addiction can be extremely difficult, despairing, and arduous, the reality is that it can be overcome.

Renowned Neuroscientist, Marc Lewis endeavored into this subject of addiction being a disease, and in fact wrote a book on it, titled “The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is not a Disease.”  Much of the medical idea of addiction being a disease focuses upon the alterations of the brain from substances.  But Lewis states in his book, “Medical researchers are correct that the brain changes with addiction.  But the way it changes has to do with learning and development — not disease.”  Yes, addiction can change the brain in certain ways, but this does not constitute it as a legitimate disease.  Lewis goes over the stories of five different addicts in his book who made it into recovery, and he explained what is wrong with the disease mode of addiction.

The proof is really in results.  With known diseases, the view and classification of them as diseases has led to an eventual resolution or mitigation of them.  Whereas, viewing or classifying addiction as a disease, has not really produced many results as far as to the resolution of it over the years of attempting to treat it in this way.

When Needing Help With a Drug or Alcohol Addiction

So, while addiction may not necessarily be a disease, there are still ways to treat it that can be very successful.  Proper addiction treatment can help a person to overcome their addiction, and locate and address underlying factors and difficulties that are behind it.  Treatment is a very unique thing, in that each person has different aspects and characteristics of their case of addiction that need to be addressed.  When addiction is treated as a one size fits all condition, individual factors are not addressed, and these can be a reason for relapse down the road.  Here at Best Drug Rehabilitation, we review and assess each person’s case as soon as they are admitted into our program, and we then use this information to craft a custom program that fits them to treat their addiction.  We are successful in treating thousands of people’s addictions every year and would like to do the same for you or your loved one.  Start to break free from the chains of addiction and give us a call today.

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