Some people do not understand how addiction, which often begins with deciding to drink or try a drug at a party, is a disease. So, is addiction a disease? The choice argument focuses on what people point out as a string of bad decisions. Some people will denigrate those who equate addiction with what they call “real diseases” such as cancer, and a few will ask, “Why can’t they just stop?” If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol or have a loved one who is, you know the answer to the question, “Is addiction a disease?” People who suffer from a substance use disorder require professional help in an addiction treatment program.
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, reach out to us at Atlanta Detox Center. We can point you in the right direction or help you understand why our addiction treatment programs may be necessary for your health and well-being. Call 470.450.2355 or fill out our online form for more information.
Is Addiction a Disease?
Those who do not believe that addiction is merely a choice understand that it is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit that can be treated with medical and therapeutic care and managed through support groups like 12 Step programs. The medical community acknowledges addiction as a complex, relapsing disease and that quitting takes far more than just “good intentions” or a strong will.
Drug abuse hijacks the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who truly want to. Drug and alcohol use may be a choice, but no one chooses to become addicted. Once addicted physically and mentally to drugs or alcohol, people often exhibit the patterns and behaviors that some segments of society have deemed immoral, sinful, or wicked. They may steal, drive drunk, harm themselves, and more.
How does addiction begin? Maybe it all started in high school. You tried smoking pot or drinking a beer with friends. You might have upped the ante by experimenting with cocaine or pills. Some people can do this once or twice and never think about it again, but others will become addicted to the high and chase it for years. While the initial decision to experiment with drugs or alcohol was a choice, struggling with a disease that affects some and not others sidelines dreams, and derails lives and families – that is no one’s choice.
Why Do Some People Become Addicted, While Others Do Not?
People who become addicted have a genetic propensity to do so. They were born with the “addiction gene” hiding in their genetic makeup. Some people realize they have an “addictive personality” before experimenting with a controlled substance. Maybe they became addicted to caffeine, video games, or skydiving – all of which can affect the pleasure receptors in the brain.
The genetic component is often triggered by an environmental, or ‘nurture’ related, factor. Some of the underlying environmental triggers for addiction include:
- Abuse, rape, and other traumas
- Community violence
- Addiction in the family
- Peer influence and the need to be accepted
- A compulsion to excel at school or work
A major risk of addiction exists for those with an underlying or co-occurring mental health disorder. Whether it is diagnosed or not, people will use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate for symptoms of:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
Substance abuse is a brain disease and needs to be treated by professionals in a substance abuse treatment program, such as the ones provided at Atlanta Detox Center.
Atlanta Detox Center’s Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
At Atlanta Detox Center, we do not offer cookie-cutter addiction treatment programs to every client. Everyone receives a personalized treatment plan and detox protocol based on their strengths, beliefs, values, and needs. We use a multidisciplinary approach that focuses on each person as an individual and treats the mind, body, and spirit as one whole.
At Atlanta Detox Center, our team provides more than medically supervised detox. We also offer treatment programs, such as:
- Individual counseling
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Group therapy
- Family counseling
- Aftercare program
Heal from the Disease of Addiction at Atlanta Detox Center
At Atlanta Detox Center, our clinical staff will teach you how to properly use coping skills and tools and find what works best for your recovery. Learn more by calling 470.450.2355 or using our online form today.