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Why Is Addiction a Disease?

therapist helps a patient through cognitive behavioral therapy program

There’s this persistent belief that addiction’s a symptom of moral failure or weakness. That’s just not the case. Scientists agree that the condition is, in fact, a chronic illness of the brain. Why is addiction a disease, and furthermore, does it have a cure?

Why Old Ways of Thinking are Hazardous to Your Health

Someone who struggles with addiction faces a daily compulsion to use a chemical that has the potential to kill. This individual might try to cut back occasionally, but it never really works out. Before long, they’re using again.

Addiction treatment programs work to help you understand that you have an illness. Because it’s chronic in nature, there’s no cure. There’s only treatment. However, if someone believes that they struggle with moral failure, they won’t check into therapy.

After all, there they deal with clinical rehab. Therapists don’t deal with the moral side of substance abuse. This old way of thinking could, therefore, kill you. It’s best to stop the belief now; education makes it possible.

Why Is Addiction a Disease?

Initially, your drug abuse was voluntary. However, you didn’t realize that the chemicals in the drugs were changing your brain chemistry. You only thought they got you high. You were wrong.

In this instance, addiction’s a lot like heart disease. It’s a condition that forms due to genetic risk factors, environmental circumstances, and behavioral factors. In the case of chemical dependency, there are brain changes. Specific neurotransmitter releases only happen when the drugs are in your system.

When they’re not, the brain no longer functions properly. Therefore, you may suffer from acute depression, fatigue, or anxiety. The sudden absence of the drugs also leads to nervous system misfires. These create the pain that you might associate with cold turkey withdrawal attempts.

Therapy, Not Moral Strength or Willpower, Results in Recovery

Why is addiction a disease when you can bring it on yourself? That’s a lot like asking why someone with heart disease, cancer, or type 2 diabetes chose to get the illness. Society is much more generous with sympathy for those conditions. However, if you were to compare the contributing factors, they would be similar.

You wouldn’t tell someone with diabetes to will away the illness. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect someone with an addiction to do so. In contrast, targeted therapy shows good outcomes. Examples include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy as a method of dealing with unhealthy coping skills
  • 12-Step recovery meetings that focus on peer accountability and support to prevent relapse
  • Psychotherapy for people with co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Life skills training that empowers you to return to a life of productivity
  • Family and relationship counseling, which encourages a rebuilding of trust and openness in communication
  • Problem-solving skills development that overcomes the habit of reaching for drugs to numb frustration

So, why is addiction a disease? The answer is clear from a scientific standpoint. Find out how you can heal at the Red Rock Recovery Center. Call [DirectNumber] to get the treatment you need for the condition.