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Is Addiction a Disease?
Addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is a complex disease involving the body and the brain. It involves the use of at least one substance such as alcohol, narcotics, marijuana or another drug. When someone abuses any of these drugs, they often report or experience social, financial, emotional, mental, physical and personal health issues. Addiction disease disrupts various parts of the brain responsible for learning, reward, judgment, motivation and memory.
Do you or someone you care about struggle with this disease? If so, don’t hesitate to contact our Desert Rose Recovery team. We have treatments available to help you overcome any substance use disorder.
Addiction Disease Model
Most medical associations and other professionals define addiction as a disease. Just like with heart disease, cancer or diabetes, the cause of addiction is biological, environmental, psychological and behavioral. There are genetic risk factors at play for so many people, as well. In fact, those with a family history of addiction are twice as likely to develop a substance use disorder than those without this type of family history.
Addiction also involves changes in the brain and body functioning due to persistent substance use or abuse.
If you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol that goes untreated, you will likely develop other mental or physical health conditions that require urgent attention. If you continue to leave the disease untreated, the addiction will likely become worse – maybe even disabling or life-threatening.
How the Brain is Changed by Substance Use
People usually feel pleasure when their basic needs such as sex, thirst and hunger are met. In many cases, the pleasurable feelings are caused by the brain releasing positive, feel-good chemicals which continue to reinforce these vital life functions. The problem is that the same goes for when someone abuse addictive substances such as narcotics or alcohol. The brain releases high levels of the chemicals just noted when the substance is consumed, leading to increase pleasure and a feeling of reward.
In time, with the body continuing to release these positive chemicals, the brain will change the way it processes things, and functions and even structure will change. When you try to get the balance back in your life by quitting alcohol or drugs, your body is confused as it isn’t receiving all those feel-good chemicals anymore. This is when withdrawal symptoms and cravings often kick in. Sometimes, the person has already lost all pleasure in other activities, which makes it even more difficult to overcome a substance use disorder or addiction. If this is the case for you, don’t worry.
Our Desert Rose team knows that addiction is a disease and we want to help you overcome it. If you choose not to get help, it is vital to know your risk of relapsing will be higher. In addition, you may not feel supported or held accountable quite as much doing your recovery on your own.
Will Power – Is it Enough?
Many people believe that will power is enough to help them overcome addiction. In fact, this is why so many people try to overcome drug and alcohol addictions on their own .They believe they can overcome the addiction and they have the will to do so – but is that enough? Generally, will power alone isn’t nearly enough to help someone overcome addiction, prevent a relapse and stay in recovery.
You see, the earlier decision of using harmful substances may be a conscious choice in some cases. However, once the brain gets hooked on alcohol or drugs, it is much tougher to get off them. This is because addiction is a disease and will power isn’t enough to help most people get past their addictive lifestyle.
One of the most defining aspects of addiction is not being able to control whether you use substances or how much of them you use. If you are stuck in the loop of addiction disease, don’t let it keep taking parts of your life from you. Here at Desert Rose, our team can assist you in using your will power, recovery techniques and various treatments to help you overcome an alcohol or drug addiction.
Responsibility with Addiction-Based Actions
People don’t get to decide how their body and brain will respond to harmful substances. This is just one reason why people can’t control whether they become addicted to alcohol or drugs. If you have an addiction to these substances, you can still stop using them, it is just going to take some dedication, will power, accountability, responsibility and support. While we encourage you to get support from friends, peers and family members, our Desert Rose team is also here to help you increase your chances of recovery.
Addiction Can Be a Chronic Disease
Chronic diseases are long-lasting conditions that can’t be cured, but you can control them (usually with help and support).
Most people who do use alcohol or drugs don’t develop an addiction. Some people have problematic periods of alcohol or drug use, only to reign in their use when they have other responsibilities such as becoming an adult. With this being said, about 25 to 50% of those who have a problem with using substances do develop a chronic, severe addiction disease to them. For these people, it is a relapsing, progressive, intense disease that requires many treatments and aftercare planning.
The good news is that you can manage most chronic, severe addictions. Usually, it requires long-term treatment, support groups, continued monitoring, support in recovery and other recovery-related help. However, if you reach out to Desert Rose, you can start getting the help you need to overcome your substance use disorder or addiction.
Get Help Overcoming Drug or Alcohol Addiction Today
Do you or someone you know have a drug or alcohol addiction? Are you wondering more about the person you care about? Is what they are going through a disease? Can you get treatment for the substance use disorder? Can they overcome the lifestyle they are living and turn things around? The answer to all these questions is an astounding yes.
Here at Desert Rose, we have a range of addiction disease treatments available to help people overcome drug and alcohol addiction. If you or someone you care for is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, don’t let it keep tearing down your life. Reach out to us today to get help overcoming the disease of addiction.