Is addiction a disease or just an unwillingness to stop using drugs? Is addiction a lack of moral standards, or is it a disease that enables a person unable to stop using alcohol or other drugs without treatment?
The caring, professional team at Atlantic Recovery Center welcomes clients into individualized treatment programs. It helps clients understand addiction as a disease rather than merely a lack of willpower to stay drug-free.
There is help available for individuals with addiction. Discover the Atlantic Recovery Center difference and how to get on the path to recovery.
Is Addiction a Disease?
Some people believe that a person with an addiction to alcohol or other drugs doesn’t want to stop using the drug. Have you asked yourself, ‘Is addiction a disease, or am I just too morally weak to stop my substance abuse?’ The answer to the question is that addiction is a complex disease that leads to changes in the brain.
Perhaps you are one of the people that has a substance use disorder that tells others that you can stop using the street drugs or prescription opioids whenever you want to stop using them. You likely know that you cannot stop on your own. Perhaps you tried to stop using in the past without success. The Atlantic Recovery Center staff helps you through your substance abuse treatment and enables you to regain control over your life.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains that when you use drugs, the drug use affects the reward centers of your brain, and flooding the area with the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. This chemical release explains the euphoric feeling that many individuals experience when they have an addiction. Over time, however, the brain no longer delivers that euphoric feeling that you initially experienced when using alcohol or other drugs. The complex brain disease of addiction takes over, rendering you unable to stop using on your own without treatment.
Is Addiction a Disease with Consequences?
You cannot stop using once you become addicted to one or more drugs, and likely engage in drug-seeking behaviors. A person experiencing an addiction continues using in spite of harmful consequences. The American Psychiatric Association reveals that a person with an addiction has an ‘intense focus’ on using, despite the effects that it has on their life. Maybe your addiction causes physical, professional, or medical difficulties. However, you keep using it anyway — one of the consequences of drug use.
The changes that occur in the brain lead to compulsive drug-seeking behaviors, along with the need to use more of the drug as the drug takes over your ability to stop using, even if you want to stop. Addiction sometimes leads to behaviors that you ordinarily would not engage in without experience the effects of addiction. Is addiction a disease that possibly leads to criminal acts?
Some people steal from family members or friends to get money for drugs. They may also sell the valuables they take from loved ones for drug money. Individuals with addictions sometimes steal from retail stores or other businesses to get drug money. Some people commit crimes such as robbery to obtain drug money.
Does Addiction Affect my Health?
There are many effects on the health of a person that has an addiction. People that have an addiction experience more than one impact on their health. Some effects potentially include:
- Co-occurring mental health conditions
- Severe dental problems
- Lung diseases
- Increased risk of developing some cancers
- Increased risk of stroke or heart attack
- Damaged or destroyed nerve cells
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more than 70,000 people in the U.S. died of overdose in 2017, a significant increase from the 2016 rates of drug-related deaths. There are nearly 200 drug overdose deaths every day.
Is Addiction a Disease with Treatment Success?
Addiction treatment programs that focus on individual needs can help clients recover from the harmful consequences of addiction. Also, these programs teach these individuals to live drug-free. The Atlantic Recovery Center staff understands that some people with addiction also experience mental health disorders. The dual diagnosis program helps treat both diseases.