Addiction as a disease and what can be done about It?


A lot of individuals ask this question, “Is addiction a disease?”  Studies confirm that the response is “Yes.” So, if addiction is a disease, what can be done about it? Discover why drug dependence and addiction falls within that category.

The Way the Brain Functions

Our brain comes with many distinct segments, and every one of those segments has significant responsibilities.  The principal areas of our brain would be the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. The amygdala is tasked to function for our survival instincts as well as habits or acts that are repeated. Since it tells us to consume food when we are hungry, as an example, the amygdala is essential.

When we ask, “Is addiction a disease?” specialists specify a disease as that of a condition that impacts a minimum of one organ. This disease then creates indicators or symptoms.  Since the brain is the organ that is affected when an individual is suffering from drug addiction and since there are lots of symptoms associated with it, then addiction can be considered as a disease.   

Among the symptoms of addiction is when the individual continues an activity no matter the effects.  Brain scans demonstrate that an individual who is suffering from drug addiction has a cortex that is malfunctioning. The tasks of our prefrontal cortex include stress modulation, attunement, impulse control, self-awareness, and decision making.

Why It’s Important to Recognize Addiction as a Disease

Addiction impacts everybody involved.  While there are those that feel guilty of what they do that continues to encourage their addiction, some might believe they can have control of their substance abuse.  That is why drug dependence treatment plans are crucial.

If you know someone who is struggling with an addiction, then, informing yourself about the illness is essential.  It is problematic for individuals when their relative or loved one proceeds to drink or use drugs in spite of the negative consequences.  There are some people who’d get mad, angry, miserable or resentful. You start to understand that you’re living with an individual who is sick when you admit that drug addiction is indeed a type of chronic illness.

How to Confront an Addiction

Someone who wants to recover from addiction should take the initial step to solve any problem which is admitting that there is an issue.  Since medical science understands that addiction is a disorder, progress and further studies help individuals recover successfully. The same as other ailments, the procedure can be helped by proven treatment approaches.  Individuals require open-mindedness, honesty and trust to start their recovery.

Addiction as a Disease

Addiction is an intricate disorder of the mind and body which entails compulsive use of particular substances despite severe health and societal effects.  Addiction interrupts areas of the brain which are responsible for motivation, reward, learning, memory and judgment. It hurts families, in addition to health issues, problems with school, work, and other areas of an addict’s life.

Why Addiction is a Disease

Addiction is characterized as a disorder by many medical institutions. Like diabetes, obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, drug addiction is brought on by a combination of behavioural, biological, and environmental aspects. There are also other risk factors that make one person more prone to addiction than another.

Addiction entails changes in the operation of the body and brain.  These modifications might be caused by substance use that was insecure or might pre-exist. The results of untreated addiction frequently consist of other bodily and mental health ailments that need medical care.  Dependence grows more intense, disabling, and life-threatening if left untreated over time.

How does Drug Use Change the Brain?

Individuals feel delighted when basic needs like hunger, thirst, and sex are met.  Typically, the discharge of certain substances in the brain causes these feelings of enjoyment.  Addictive compounds induce the mind to release elevated levels of the substances which are connected with benefit or pleasure.

With the years, continued release of those chemicals causes changes in the brain systems involved in reward, memory, and motivation.  An individual may desire the drug when these changes happen. The person may experience desires or cravings and certainly will continue to use it regardless of the harmful or damaging consequences.  

The individual might eliminate interest in life activities and may prefer using drugs instead. These changes in the individual’s brain can stay for quite a while, even after the individual stops using the drugs. The changes in the brain can leave those people who are vulnerable to environmental and physical cues to continue using drugs.

Related article: Addiction Services in Vancouver: Why You May Need Professional Help

Why is Willpower not Enough to Beat Addiction?

Chronic disease is a long-term illness which may be controlled but not cured.

Approximately 25-50 percent of people who have a substance use issue seems to have a serious, chronic illness.  People with drug dependence should be aware that it is a progressive disease which needs observation, peer or family support, and therapies to handle their healing.

Nevertheless, the most acute, chronic form of the disease can be reversible and manageable, usually with long term therapy and continued observation and support for healing. The early and initial decisions to utilize substances reflect an individual’s free or conscious option.  After dependence has affected the mind, willpower or that decision-making gets diminished. The symptom of drug dependence is when there’s a loss of control over drug use.

Should We Blame Addicts for their Actions?

Many people today think addiction cannot be a disorder as it’s a result of someone’s decision to use alcohol or drugs.  While the initial use (or early phase use) might be done by choice, when the person’s brain has been affected by drugs, most experts think that the individual loses control of their behaviour.

Others assert that addiction isn’t a disease because a few people with drug dependence get better with no treatment.  People who have mild drug problems may recover without therapy or minimal treatment only.

Individuals with drug dependence shouldn’t be blamed for suffering the illness.  All people today make decisions about whether to make use of drugs. People don’t choose how their mind and body reacts to alcohol and medications. This mainly explains the reason why their drug usage cannot be controlled although some can.  

While we can’t blame addicts for their actions since addiction is a disease, individuals with drug dependence are responsible for seeking treatment and maintaining recovery.  They should be given assistance and support of friends, family and peers to remain in therapy and boost their probability of recovery and survival.

Can Drug Addiction be Treated?

Yes, addiction can be treated.  Research about treating substance use disorders and the addiction has resulted in the growth of techniques that assist people to resume productive lifestyles and to quit using drugs.

In the same way with other chronic diseases like asthma or heart disease, the available treatments for drug addiction aren’t the cure.  But drug dependence can be handled or managed. Treatment empowers people to recover control of their own lives and to counteract the negative effects on their behaviour and their mind of drug addiction.

Does Relapse Mean the Treatment Failed?

The short answer is no. This is because the nature of drug dependence means even a return to drug usage following an effort to discontinue can be a part of this procedure, but remedies are made to aid with prevention. Rates for substance use are very similar to those other conditions that are chronic.  Individuals in recovery are very likely to experience relapse if they stop going to their aftercare program.

Treatment of such chronic ailments involve altering deeply rooted behaviours, and relapse does not mean therapy has failed.  If an individual recovering from a substance addiction relapses, what it signals is that the individual must talk with their physician to resume therapy, alter it, or even try another therapy.

Even if relapse is an expected part of healing, for many substances, it may be quite dangerous–even fatal.  Since an addict’s body is adapted to a certain level of drug exposure, if they resume to using drugs after being clean for some time, these people can easily experience an overdose.  An overdose occurs when the individual uses too much of a certain substance to generate life-threatening consequences such as losing consciousness, heart attack, and others.

Basics of a Successful Treatment for Drug Addiction

Research indicates that when managing substance dependence such as opioids, medications ought to be the very first line of therapy, generally combined with certain kinds of behavioural treatment or counselling.  Medicines are available to aid the treatment of addiction to the habit of smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol as well.

Also, medications are utilized to assist individuals to detoxify from illegal substances, although detoxification isn’t similar to therapy and isn’t enough to enable someone to recover from addiction.  Detoxification on its own without treatment contributes to the resumption of substance abuse.

For those who have addictions to substances such as cannabis or stimulants, no medicine is available to help in the treatment. That being said, a big part of the treatment contains behavioural therapies.  An individual’s treatment plan ought to be specific to deal with his or her drug usage patterns and other medical, psychological, and societal issues.

Tools for Treating Drug Addiction

Various kinds of drugs could be helpful at several stages of therapy to aid a patient quit abusing drugs, remain in therapy, and prevent relapse. When patients stop using medication, they could experience various physiological and psychological symptoms, such as restlessness or insomnia, in addition to anxiety, depression, as well as a number of mental health conditions.  

Applications and some therapy medications are utilized to assist the brain as it undergoes withdrawal from the drugs.  These remedies act to also have a calming effect on the body and prevent drug cravings. They could help individuals focus on counselling and psychotherapies.

According to available studies, anxiety cues connected to substance use would be the most frequent causes of relapse.  Researchers have been creating and improving treatments to stop the causes to help individuals remain in recovery.

Therapies for Drug Addiction

Therapies aid individuals in substance addiction recovery to alter their attitudes as well as behaviours associated with drug usage.  Because of this, patients can manage causes which may trigger another relapse and stressful situations. Behavioural therapies help people stay in treatment and may improve the efficacy of medications.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy attempts to help individuals acknowledge, avoid, as well as manage all the scenarios where they are most vulnerable to go back to drug use. Contingency management utilizes positive reinforcement, for example, providing privileges or rewards for staying drug-free, for being present and engaging in counselling sessions, or even for taking therapy meds as prescribed.

Motivational enhancement therapy makes use of strategies to take advantage of people’s willingness to modify their behaviour and enter therapy. Family therapy assists people (particularly young people) who have drug use issues and improve the overall functioning of the family.

How can Addicts Recover?

Quitting drug usage is only the starting point of a lengthy and elaborate recovery procedure.  Because drug dependence can influence so many areas of an individual’s life, therapy should be able to deal with the requirements of the entire individual to become functional and productive again.  Counsellors may choose from a number of solutions that fulfill the medical, psychological, social, occupational needs, and other requirements of the patients.

How to Seek Help to Recover from Addiction?

Should you or someone you know need help with their drug dependence, it can be tough to know where to turn to.  This is because we’re scared to acknowledge the issue and request support. But doing nothing is a lot more detrimental to your psychological and emotional well-being than getting the issue out.  Therefore, in case you require assistance with drug addiction, alcohol dependence or another sort of dependence, follow the next four actions to that we’ll be sharing.

Acknowledge the Issue

We all know it’s cliche, but it’s also correct.  The very first step if you require assistance with substance abuse is to spot the issue.  It may be hard to acknowledge you have an issue or even just think that you have an addiction, although it could appear like a very simple action on the outside.

So, before you can also do so, you have to have the ability to spot the symptoms of dependence.  These could consist of cravings for alcohol or drugs, withdrawal symptoms when drug use is stopped briefly for efforts at abstinence or reduction, problems with relationships or your career, and tolerance to the substance which contributes to increased use.  Any or a combination of these signals may point to substance addiction.

Choose to Change

Once you can recognize and acknowledge you want help with your drug dependence, the next step is to make the choice to do something about it. Addicts who do not find aid fall into what’s called the “treatment gap.” These individuals do not seek a treatment plan that is ideal for them.  

Deciding to make a change is frequently the toughest step toward drug recovery. Nevertheless, this is the most essential.  You may be unsure if you’ve got what it takes to be determined to stop drug use and get better.

Committing to sobriety is a life change which needs support, patience, time, and perseverance.  Alter how you cope with anxiety and you might need to eliminate specific people and situations. From time to time these shifts are essential, which can be unnerving but is definitely worthwhile.

Find Support

Seeking assistance with addiction isn’t something you must do alone. Having a support system can improve your odds of healing successfully. Your friends and family play a part in helping you overcome your problems.  The bigger your support system, the better. This is because you’ll be assured that you’ll have a system where you can get encouragement, advice or just someone to speak to.

You’ll require a new set of friends in case your preceding circle revolved around alcohol or drugs.  Sober buddies are an excellent advantage for your addiction recovery. These may be discovered in church groups, community events, meetings and much more.  

Attending support meetings may be a fantastic way to find assistance for your own recovery since these people know just what you’re currently going through.  You may find out a great deal from the team members and what they do to keep sober.

Don’t Hesitate to Look for Professional Help

As soon as you’ve dedicated yourself to addiction recovery and place your support network, the next step is to find the support of an addiction specialist or addiction treatment centre.  No therapy program works for everybody, but if you seek assistance with drug dependence or alcohol abuse, a treatment centre puts individuals in the place for healing.

The healthcare professionals will provide a thorough approach involving detox medicine to ease the process of withdrawal.  There are group sessions and lots of physical, spiritual, and psychological treatment choices. You can talk to your doctor about how you want to approach your recovery.  


There’s a vast array of addiction recovery treatment facilities available, so do your homework and locate the one which is going to be the best match for you and your requirements. Taking all these first steps will be challenging, and it could take repeated attempts to reach and sustain your sobriety. But to get there, you are going to need to begin at step one and take matters from there. Call Inspire Change Addiction Rehab in Vancouver for addiction treatment programs.

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