Is addiction really a disease? Life and style

The activities of that organization and the criminal-justice system help to establish the current situation in which societally imposed penalties are applied to those said to be suffering from a disease. It is rare to find a nationally recognized substance abuse recovery organization that views addiction as a choice rather than a disease. The “addiction is a choice” viewpoint is mostly from individuals and some smaller grounds groups.

  • This means that activities that do not cause pleasure but provide relief from negative feelings also present a strong habit-forming risk.
  • In many individuals the risk to addiction appears to transcend the particular drug involved.
  • He tells students that addiction causes chemical changes that hijack your brain.

The ability to inhibit behaviour requires cognitive resources and skills, which may be limited or impaired in addicts. It is argued that to a certain extent, addicts may very well be able to control themselves or respond to reasons, but this ability can be depleted at times, particularly as a result of cravings. The analogy of somebody hanging onto a cliff is often used, indicating that the individual can only hang on for so long before their strength is completely depleted and she has to let go [37].

Ethos Recovery

Again, looking beyond myth, science informs us that there is a genetic predisposition for addiction, as well as a range of environmental factors, especially those that occur in early childhood. The present paper is a response to the increasing number of criticisms of the view that addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease. In many cases, we show that those criticisms target tenets that are neither needed nor held by a contemporary version of this view. With regard to disease course, we propose that viewing addiction as a chronic relapsing disease is appropriate for some populations, and much less so for others, simply necessitating better ways of delineating the populations being discussed. We argue that when considering addiction as a disease, the lens of neurobiology is valuable to use. It is not the only lens, and it does not have supremacy over other scientific approaches.

is addiction a disease debate

Addiction takes over your brain to the point where normal functioning is impossible without the substance. If we consider this, it’s obvious that addiction is a disease because it directly alters the function of one of our most crucial organs – the brain. Dopamine being released during a workout or when jamming out to a song offers a small healthy dosage designed to bring contentment and give the body a boost of literal positive energy. The dopamine release from drugs and alcohol unlocks the floodgates, dousing your body in unnaturally high dopamine levels, which can lead to the following issues. In all cases, professional treatment and a range of recovery supports should be available and accessible to anybody who develops a substance use disorder. With the help and support of family, friends and peers to access help and stay in treatment, people struggling with a substance use disorder can increase their chances of recovery and survival.

The Brain’s Role in Addiction Development

The paper, now cited almost 2000 times, put forward a position that has been highly influential in guiding the efforts of researchers, and resource allocation by funding agencies. A subsequent 2000 paper by McLellan et al. [2] examined whether data justify distinguishing addiction from other conditions for which a disease label is rarely questioned, such as diabetes, hypertension or asthma. It concluded that neither genetic risk, the role of personal choices, nor the influence of environmental factors differentiated addiction in a manner that would warrant viewing it differently; neither did relapse rates, nor compliance with treatment. The authors outlined an agenda closely related to that put forward by Leshner, but with a more clinical focus. Their conclusion was that addiction should be insured, treated, and evaluated like other diseases. This paper, too, has been exceptionally influential by academic standards, as witnessed by its ~3000 citations to date.

is addiction a disease debate

Addiction is a complicated issue that requires the guidance of multiple addiction and medical professionals to help the person experience a successful recovery and a meaningful life. While these criteria determine what can be considered a substance-related or addictive disorder according to the DSM-5, they do not take into account how addiction develops and what makes it a true brain disease. For an understanding of addiction, it is much more important to find common grounds and to recognise that for some individuals the BDM may be more fitting. The focus on the exact capacities of the individual, especially the capacity for control, is much more informative. After all, let us not forget that addiction is a condition that affects thousands, if not millions, of individuals worldwide. To strive for a universal model and application of it, therefore, does not do justice to the heterogeneity of the individuals involved.

Disease Model of Addiction

Psychologist Jeff Schaler, author of Addiction Is a Choice, argues that people have more control over their behavior than they think. In order for someone to find freedom from the bondage of a substance use disorder, they will need to get treatment. This might include a detox for women, residential rehab, or an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). Perhaps, then, some people have been too ready to jump to conclusions about specific mechanisms. Be that as it may, chemical rewards have no power to compel–although this notion of compulsion may be a cherished part of clinicians’ folklore. I am rewarded every time I eat chocolate cake, but I often eschew this reward because I feel I ought to watch my weight.

Is drug addiction genetic?

More than half of the differences in how likely people are to develop substance use problems stem from DNA differences, though it varies a little bit by substance. Research suggests alcohol addiction is about 50 percent heritable, while addiction to other drugs is as much as 70 percent heritable.

Biden proposed rewriting language commonly used by lawmakers and the government when discussing addiction. For example, Biden wanted to rename NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) as the National Institute on Diseases of Addiction and the NIAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse) as the National Institute on Alcohol Disorders and Health. By Angelica Bottaro

Angelica Bottaro is a professional freelance writer with over 5 years of experience.

But if substance use continues, the brain produces less dopamine and/or reduces the number of brain structures that receive dopamine. Thus, dopamine’s impact on the reward network diminishes, along with the individual’s ability to Top 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing Sober House experience pleasure. To address addictions, these experts say, we must ensure that people have opportunities, jobs, and stable communities. When that happens, drug use won’t seem like a necessary escape from a difficult life.

In addiction treatment, individuals often participate in a combination of group and individual counseling, and they may also take medications. The brain changes with addiction, leading to compulsive drug use, but through counseling, individuals in recovery can learn strategies for resisting urges to use drugs and develop new ways of coping with stress. To further complicate matters, some people are more prone to addiction than others.

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