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Is Drug Addiction a Disease?

No one argues with the fact that drug addiction is a serious issue. However, there’s plenty of debate around one specific question: Is drug addiction a disease? By and large, the answer is yes. Below are some of the more compelling reasons to consider addiction a disease.

Much of Addiction is Genetic

Some people still argue that addiction is a choice or a moral flaw of some kind. However, experts can dismiss this argument with a single fact. Addiction is largely genetic.

This means that some individuals are inherently more likely to struggle with addiction. There’s a pre-existing characteristic in the brain that leads to addiction. This is why so many families see addiction in high numbers. If addiction runs in the family, then it isn’t something that a person can simply control or stop.

The genetic component doesn’t mean that individuals have no responsibility for their recovery. What it does do is explain why some people can use drugs just once and develop a lifelong addiction while others are able to moderate.

The Brain Physically Changes Due to Substance Abuse

Another way to clearly show that addiction is a disease is by looking at the brain. Addiction impacts the body, but it’s primarily a disease of the brain. Using drugs actually changes the way that the brain functions, which means that people can’t just stop using drugs easily.

When you start using any type of drug, it begins to flood the brain with chemicals. These chemicals overwhelm neurotransmitters in the brain, and they begin to adjust to accommodate this influx. Afterwards, previously normal levels of the chemicals can lead to unpleasant side effects.

This is what causes intense cravings. It’s also what makes going through detox and withdrawal so challenging. There’s nothing a person can do to stop the changes in the brain while still using drugs. Total sobriety and recovery are necessary to find stability again.

Relapse is a Common Problem Among Many Illnesses

Sadly, many people think of relapse as a lack of self-discipline. However, relapse is incredibly common among many types of illnesses and diseases.

Relapse rates for drug addiction are around 50%. While that might sound like a lot, this number is in line with relapse rates for heart disease and asthma. Addiction is a lifelong disease, and maintenance is required to continue toward recovery and health.

Is Drug Addiction a Disease? Yes, But There is Treatment

There’s no doubt that drug addiction is a disease. In fact, medical legislation like the Affordable Care Act defines addiction as a mental health concern that falls under the essential pillars of health. The good news is that recovery is possible.

At Memphis Recovery Centers, we treat addiction with all the following therapies:

Is drug addiction a disease that has taken over your life? At Memphis Recovery Centers in Tennessee, you can find a drug rehab program that will help you fight back against addiction. Call 866-304-8254 and begin your journey to recovery.