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- The Addiction Debate
- Risk Factors For The Development Of Addiction
- Habit Versus Disease
- Avoiding Recovery
- The Efficacy Of Addiction Treatment
- Habits Versus Addiction
- Addiction: Disease Or Bad Habit?
- The Science Of Drug Addiction
- The Disease Model Of Drug Addiction
- Substance Use And The Brain
- Addiction As A Chronic Disease
- The Habit Model Of Addiction
- Treating And Curing Addiction
Drug Addiction: Incurable Disease VS. A Developed Habit That Can Be Cured
It is increasingly becoming popular for many people to refer to substance abuse as all forms of recreational substance abuse. Additionally, NIDA (or the National Institute on Drug Abuse) has been convincing in its assertion of the relationship between substance abuse and addiction.
In the same way, there has been an ongoing debate over whether drug addiction is an incurable disease or a developed habit that can be cured.
The Addiction Debate
Addiction has been variously described as a habit, a character flaw, and a disease or condition of the brain. However, there is no single universal cause of drug addiction. In fact, researchers have been trying for several years now to pinpoint the reasons why some people are able to use alcohol and drugs recreationally without developing a problem with these substances while others develop life-changing addictions. Even so, these research has only proved successful in identifying some of the risk factors and potential risks that might contribute to the chance that you will develop a substance abuse disorder.
To this end, the debate on whether drug addiction is an incurable disease or a developed habit that can be cured has been evolving for centuries. Whereas some contend that the condition is a weakness, a lack of integrity and a cause for concern, others think of it as a medical disorder that can be dealt with through proper psychotherapeutic and medical care and treatment. Among the latter are those who believe that addiction is not tied to choice.
But what is the right answer to this age-old debate? Before we dive into the answers, however, you might first want to learn a little about some of the factors that could cause you to develop a substance use disorder.
Risk Factors For The Development Of Addiction
Although you initially have to make a conscious choice to start experimenting with alcohol and drugs, there are some additional events and issues that could potentially contribute to your risk of developing an alcohol or drug dependency problem. These risks factors, as they are commonly referred to as, include:
- A family member who has a problem with alcohol or drugs
- An environment that is permissive of alcohol and drug use
- Biology, including any differences that might have occurred in utero, as a result of accidents, and for other reasons
- Co-occurring mental health concerns
- Early age of experimenting with (or first use of) alcohol and drugs
- Trauma, such as grief, physical assault, or sexual abuse, among others
- Traumatic, stressful, or difficult childhood
While undergoing treatment and rehabilitation for a substance use disorder, therefore, all these factors will have to be directly addressed. By so doing, the addiction treatment experts can empower an addict to overcome their condition and transcend over and beyond the obstacles they encounter in their daily lives without resorting to alcohol or drugs.
Habit Versus Disease
Marc Lewis, in The Biology of Desire, explains that addiction is not an actual disease in the full sense of the word. Further, he states that drug addiction is neither a medical disorder nor a moral issue.
A former addict, Lewis contends that addiction could be a habit - one that is medically and physically harmful. Further, he contends that the disorder is not irreversible in the same way that some people think of it.
In the book, he writes that addiction causes the brain to change in a variety of ways. However, these changes are related to development and learning and not with a physical or psychological disease.
Further, Lewis explains that the ability of the brain to create habits and adapt to them are some of the factors linked to the development of substance use disorders and drug addictions. Therefore, this ability also applies to teaching the brain to overcome its dependence on intoxicating and mind-altering substances.
Lewis also states that the changes caused in the brain by substance abuse are not always permanent. Even though most of these changes do cause negative and sometimes dangerous consequences, they can all be altered.
To him, therefore, it is entirely possible to move away from ongoing substance use and addiction. In fact, addicts can be taught how to change their brain and adopt positive habits of perseverance and ongoing sobriety. In the process, they can benefit from treatment and cure the condition.
In the same way, Lewis was against the use of recovery. This is because of his belief that this word implied that addicts could return to a life that they had become accustomed to before they started being involved with mind-altering and intoxicating substances.
To him, this word is also problematic for most of the people who are actively addicted. This is because most of them ended up abusing drugs and alcohol because of the negative state of their lives just before they were involved with these substances.
Additionally, he explained that most people first abuse intoxicating substances while trying to self-medicate mental health symptoms as well as escape the negative and uncomfortable feelings that arise as a result of a variety of difficult problems in their lives - such as financial difficulty, job loss, and divorce.
Therefore, Lewis contends that people who started abusing drugs due to ongoing problems would not want to recover their old life. Instead, he prefers the use of other words that can involve a renewal of the life of the addict.
Through treatment, therefore, patients should be afforded the opportunity to address every issue and problem that underlies ongoing substance abuse. Through this opportunity, they should be able to create new, better lifestyles for themselves and their loved ones.
These opportunities should also teach addicts new coping mechanisms that they can use to handle all struggles they encounter in the future without having to resort to intoxicating and mind-altering substances.
Even with these assertions, you might wonder whether it really matters whether drug addiction is a medical disorder or a habit. According to scientific research, drug use does create real and noticeable changes in the structure and function of the brain. Therefore, it is clear that addiction is not a character flaw or a moral issue of any kind.
At the moment, the focus is increasingly placed on the identification of substance abuse and addiction as diseases. Those who are after these calls claim that addiction is completely beyond the control of those who are affected by it.
Additionally, the disease model of addiction absolves patients involved in substance abuse of all blame for the development of the condition in the first place. As such, it can make it easier for many people to enroll for addiction treatment and rehabilitation. However, this factor might also remove any responsibility on the addict in case of the future choices they make concerning substance abuse - including relapse.
Of course, this might prove problematic especially if addicts are taught to adopt an attitude of fatalism - in the sense that they cannot help their addiction or do anything to stop themselves from abusing drugs. This attitude can cause them to relapse or start assuming that their treatment and rehabilitation did not work. It could potentially also get them thinking that they are doomed to a lifetime of substance abuse and addiction.
The habit model, on the other hand, might prove effective in framing the experience of drug addiction. It could also help many more people accept that treatment works while feeling empowered to continue striving to break the drug habit that they have given so much to.
The Efficacy Of Addiction Treatment
In the long run, the fact that so many of the people who undergo rehabilitation and treatment for addiction are able to overcome the condition and go on to lead productive, meaningful, and noteworthy lifestyles is a cause for concern.
More specifically, it shows that addiction treatment does work. To this end, you can be sure that drug addiction is not an incurable disease. Instead, it is actually a learned and developed habit that can be resolved and cured.
Today, there are many different types of addiction treatment. All of them have been proved - some more than others - to be effective at helping those who are addicted to give up their substance abuse and learn how to remain sober and clean.
Habits Versus Addiction
How can you tell whether you are suffering from drug addiction or if you have just developed an unhealthy and harmful habit? In many cases, telling the difference between these two might be hard for most people. This is because both of them grow out of behaviors that you consistently repeat.
However, given the large differences in treatment and scope, it is still essential to find out whether you have a disturbing habit or if what you have is the manifestation of drug addiction.
One of the main differences between the disease and the habit of substance abuse and addiction revolves around the amount of time, effort, and energy that is required to alter the behavior and learn new and healthy habits.
In many cases, changing your habits will require minimal attention, time, and effort. However, addiction recovery will often require a highly integrated long-term plan. This is because you will first need to deal with some of the physical symptoms of the condition - including but not limited to withdrawal - as well as the psychological and emotional disconnection between your behavior and your body.
Even so, the debate between whether drug addiction is an incurable disease or a developed curable disease has still been ongoing in many cases. Still, it is clear that most human beings are naturally inclined to repeat some habitual patterns. This is because repetition often creates comfort and familiarity. In the same way, some of the positive habits that you repeat are useful as tools of your survival.
However, your habitual behaviors could take a turn for the worse - leading you to develop an addiction to mind-altering and intoxicating substances. In such a case, recovery will require that you honestly and genuinely assess all your behaviors and check how they have been affecting your life, spirituality, job, relationships, and health. Only by so doing will you be able to gain a better understanding of the differences between addiction and habits.
To do this, you might want to ask yourself the following questions with regards to your alcohol use and drug abuse:
- Have you ever taken any step to hide your ongoing drug behavior?
- Have you repeatedly - albeit unsuccessfully - tried to stop using drugs on your own?
- Have you frequently found yourself in risky situations as a result of ongoing substance abuse?
- Is your drug or alcohol behavior having negative impacts - whether directly or indirectly - on your life?
- When you stop using drugs for a period of time, does it cause you to experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms - like stress and anxiety?
In case your answer to any of the questions was in the affirmative, then it is highly likely that what you are suffering from is a drug addiction and not a habit that you can cure.
This is because habits refer to the ingrained and learned associations that you have created between incentives and stimuli and a behavioral reaction or response. These habits can be manifested either subconsciously or consciously to enable you to achieve specific goals.
Addition, on the other hand, is more complicated than the behaviors that comprise a habit. To this end, substance use disorders are diseases that can manifest themselves in the form of physical symptoms of behavioral flexibility, loss of natural impulse control, and intense cravings for a given drug.
To this end, most people develop an addiction psychologically. Every time you use drugs, therefore, the addiction will be reinforced inside your brain. This condition can also be enhanced if you have an underlying desire to endure emotional turmoil, escape discomfort, or numb any pain you might be feeling.
On the other hand, pleasure-seeking patterns - including smoking tobacco cigarettes and drinking alcohol - can create new neural pathways in the brain. These pathways will connect these impulsive desires with the relief that you get from negative emotions like drug cravings, depression, anxiety, and stress.
Although most behaviors are harmless - especially when performed in moderation - almost any action that physiologically, consistently and successfully numbs or quiets depression, trauma, or emotion can turn into an active addiction.
In the same way, both addiction and habits involve the cause and effect relationship. However, intermittent reinforcement might also be a commonality in most cases of addiction.
To this end, even though it is next to impossible to predict what will happen as a result of your behavior, it is highly likely that addiction might cause you to continue returning to the preferred substances of abuse for more.
Therefore, addiction is unlike habits like brushing the teeth or tying shoelaces. This is because you will not be able to control your impulsive desire to continue engaging in substances of abuse. Additionally, you may find that you are unable to quit even though addiction starts to affect your health, job, and relationships in negative ways.
In the long run, it can also be hard to recognize the main reasons why you have developed the negative behaviors linked to drug addiction. As a direct result, diagnosing substance use disorders can also be challenging.
In this, it is still essential to understand the differences between addiction and bad habits. After all, if behaviors negatively affect your happiness and life, it would be evident that you would stop them.
However, when reviewing the debate about whether drug addiction is a developed and learned habit that you can cure or an incurable disease, the answers might not be immediately apparent and available.
Still, if you consider the fact that quitting drugs and alcohol on your own is close to impossible, it is clear that the condition requires treatment and can, therefore, be classified as both a disease and a habit - or a disease of compulsive and repetitive harmful habits.
Addiction: Disease Or Bad Habit?
Drug addiction has been plaguing American society for many years now. Unfortunately, some feel that addiction is strictly related to hard drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.
However, the nature of addiction is such that the condition comes with no limits. In fact, it covers more than just alcohol and drugs. Therefore, you might find people who are addicted to harmful drugs like heroin as well as conditions like buying lottery tickets and gambling.
The APA (or the American Psychiatric Association) also reports that drug addiction needs to meet any of the criteria listed below:
- Innate desire to reduce, cut down, or completely stop using certain substances
- Limited control
- Negative consequences
- Postponed or neglected activities
- Significant energy or time spent
If you meet any three of the criteria listed above, then you are dealing with a problem with drugs. Today, close to 10% of the American population is addicted to intoxicating and mind-altering substances. As you can well imagine, this rate is higher than the incidence of diabetes - a condition that only affects close to 7% of the entire American population.
To determine whether drug addiction is an incurable disease or a developed habit that can be cured, consider the research studies done on the concept. Over the past few years, scientists have strived to try and figure out whether addiction is linked to genetics.
In a single study, 653 fraternal twins and 861 identical twins were tested to find out whether genetics played a role in their ability to become drug addicts. The findings from this study showed that when an identical twin developed an alcohol use disorder, their twin has a significant risk of developing the same addiction. However, this was not true for fraternal twins. This shows that if one fraternal twin developed alcoholism, their twin did not face a similar risk. As a result, the study concluded that genetics is related to about 50 to 60% of the risk of addiction.
Additional evidence has also supported the genetic relationship of addiction. In another study, the participants included 231 people facing addiction and 61 non-substance users. This study was based on first degree relatives - including parents.
According to this study, it was found that people who were addicted and who had first degree relatives with similar problems, then they were 8 times as likely to continue abusing drugs. This was in comparison to those who did not have first degree relatives with addiction problems.
Even though 50 to 60% of the risk of drug addiction is tied to genetics, however, the remaining chances are linked to coping skills. As a direct result, it is possible to take charge of your life, beat addiction, and go on to lead a lifestyle of sobriety, recovery, and abstinence - whether or not your addiction is driven by genetics.
In the long run, it is clear that addiction is similar to conditions like cancer and diabetes. This is because both of these conditions are linked to genetic makeup - as well as but not limited to lifestyle choices.
For instance, genetics can influence your risk of developing diabetes. However, you can reduce your risk by exercising and taking a healthy diet. This is also true for cancer.
To this end, genetics does play a role in your risk of becoming an addict. However, this risk can also be affected by the lifestyle choices you make on a daily basis. Therefore, instead of treating drug addiction as a habit, it should be treated as a disease that can be cured.
The Science Of Drug Addiction
One thing is clear - addiction is not an incurable disease. In fact, it can be treated somewhat successfully. As a treatable condition, research has shown that there are evidence-based interventions that are used to help people overcome their reliance on intoxicating and mind-altering substances. Through these interventions, many have been able to resume productive and meaningful lifestyles.
However, addiction is not always cured. This makes it like any other chronic diseases in the sense that although it cannot always be cured, it can be successfully managed and controlled.
Through treatment, people can counteract the powerful and overbearingly disruptive effects of addiction on their behavior and brain. By so doing, they can effectively gain control over their lives.
In the same way, you might wonder whether relapse means that your addiction treatment has failed. In such a situation, you can be sure that the answer is no. By its nature, drug addiction is a chronic disease. This means that relapsing at one point or the other is both possible and highly likely.
In fact, the rates of relapse - or the recurrence of symptoms - for people with substance use disorders are somewhat similar to the rates of relapse for many other medical illnesses like asthma, hypertension, and diabetes. All of these conditions are similar in the sense that they all have behavioral and physiological components.
This is why the effective treatment of ay chronic disease often requires the patient to change any behaviors and habits that have become deeply embedded in their lifestyles. To this end, relapse back to your old habits does not necessarily mean that drug addiction treatment failed.
While recovering from substance abuse, relapse indicates that you need to readjust and reinstate your treatment. Alternatively, you might have to try another form of treatment to see if it will work.
But how does substance addiction treatment work? According to recent research, combining different treatment medications - where these are available - with counseling and behavioral therapy is the most effective way to provide respite for many patients. However, every approach to treatment should be tailored so that it can address the patterns of drug use for each patient, as well as all the social, psychiatric, and medical problems linked to their drug abuse.
Today, many different types of drugs are medications are used in various stages of addiction treatment. Through these drugs, many patients are able to avoid relapse, stay longer in treatment, and completely overcome their dependence on intoxicating and mind-altering substances.
Consider the following:
a) Treating Withdrawal
When you first stop using alcohol and drugs, it is highly likely that you will experience emotional and physical symptoms. These include sleeplessness, restlessness, mood disorders, anxiety, and depression.
As you undergo withdrawal syndrome, the addiction treatment professionals may use certain medications. These drugs are designed to deal with, reduce, and completely eliminate these withdrawal symptoms. Through these medications, therefore, it might easier for you to stop using drugs.
This goes to show that addiction is a developed habit that can be cured - especially because there are medications to treat the condition. As such, you should not worry that it is an incurable disease.
b) Staying in Treatment
In some addiction treatment facilities, the experts might also use treatment medications to help your brain start adapting - albeit gradually - to the apparent absence of your common substances of abuse.
Most of these medications are designed to act slowly. As such, they are effective at staving off any drug cravings you might have. They can also calm your body systems and help you adjust to not having any substances of abuse in your system. Last but not least, they might prove useful in helping you focus on the psychotherapy and counseling that will be provided during your addiction rehabilitation.
c) Preventing Relapse
Many research studies agree that most of the cues linked to substance abuse - including moods, things, places, people, and situations - as well as stress and ongoing exposure to substances of abuse are some of the factors that can trigger your relapse.
As such, a variety of medications are currently under development to deal with these triggers. Through these medications, it is possible that many people will finally be able to sustain their recovery from ongoing drug addiction.
There are also many different medications used in the treatment of substance abuse and addiction. These medications include, but are not always limited to:
- Tobacco Addiction
- Nicotine replacement therapies (which are available as gums, inhalers, and patches)
- Opioid Addiction
- Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Apart from the above medications, a variety of behavioral therapies have also been proved effective in the treatment of drug addiction. In particular, behavioral therapies can help addiction continue engaging in substance use disorder rehabilitation and treatment. In the process, these therapies can modify their behaviors and attitudes relating to substance abuse.
They can also prove effective in improving their life skills - particularly those required to handle and deal with environmental cues and stressful circumstances that could potentially trigger addiction cravings for their preferred substances of abuse. In so doing, these therapies are useful in protecting them from new cycles of compulsive drug use.
Last but not least, behavioral therapies have also been proved useful in enhancing the efficacy and effectiveness of the medications used in drug addiction treatment and rehabilitation. This means that they can help an addict remain in the rehabilitation program much longer than they otherwise would have done.
In the long run, however, it is imperative that treatment addresses the person as a whole. Only by so doing can it help a patient recover from all the pervasive and harmful effects of drug addiction.
To this end, learning how to stop abusing various intoxicating and mind-altering substances is just a single part of the complex and long process of recovery involved with drug addiction.
When you enter a treatment and rehabilitation center, therefore, your substance use disorder would have progressed to such a level that addiction might already have taken over your life.
At this stage, the compulsion to look for, obtain, use, and experience the various effects of intoxicating and mind-altering substances would have started dominating your every waking moment. Additionally, you may find that abusing drugs takes the place of everything that you once enjoyed.
Additionally, substance abuse and addiction might already have disrupted your functioning in the community, at work, and in your family life. It could also potentially have increased your risk of suffering from a variety of other serious diseases and illnesses.
Since addiction affects different aspects of life, it is imperative that its treatment and rehabilitation focuses on addressing your needs as a whole person. Only by so doing can addiction treatment be termed as successful.
It is for this reason that most programs will incorporate different rehabilitative and restorative services to form comprehensive addiction treatment regimens. Therefore, when you check into one of these facilities, the treatment counselors and therapists will choose from a host of rehabilitative services to meet your specific legal, vocational, social, psychological, and medical needs. In the long run, this could potentially foster and promote your recovery from drug addiction.
Examples of therapies used for treating addiction include:
a) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Also known as CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy can help you recognize, avoid, and learn how to cope with all situations in which you have a high risk of abusing alcohol and drugs.
b) Contingency Management
On the other hand, contingency management relies on the use of positive reinforcement to ensure that you can remain drug-free. You will, for instance, be provided with privileges when you attend counseling sessions, participating in these sessions, and taking the prescribed treatment medications you've been provided with.
c) Family Therapy
Family therapy almost always works effectively for young people. This form of therapy is designed in such a way that it approaches your drug programs within the context of family dynamics and interactions. As such, it can deal with any dynamics and interactions that might contribute to your risk-taking behaviors and ongoing substance abuse.
d) Motivational Enhancement Therapy
Otherwise referred to as MET, motivational enhancement therapy used a variety of strategies to try and evoke internally motivated and rapid behavioral change. Through these treatments, you will learn how to enter into a treatment facility and stop using drugs.
The Disease Model Of Drug Addiction
According to the disease model of drug addiction, addiction is considered to be a complex disease of the body and brain. It involves the compulsive abuse of different intoxicating and mind-altering substances. Such abuse continues in spite of the social and health consequences that it gives rise to.
Through this mode, addiction is viewed in the sense that it disrupts different regions of the brain - particularly those that are responsible for memory, judgment, learning, motivation, and reward. Addiction also damages a variety of body systems, families, neighborhoods, communities, workplaces, schools, and relationships.
The great majority of medical associations subscribe to the disease model of drug addiction - with many defining the condition as a disease. These associations include the ASAM (or the American Society of Addiction Medicine) and the AMA (or the American Medical Association).
According to the proponents of this model, drug addiction is similar to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other conditions. This is in the sense that it is caused by various combinations of biological, environmental, and behavioral factors. As we saw earlier, genetic risk factors also account for close to 50% of the likelihood that you will develop the condition.
In this model, addiction also involves innate changes in the working and functioning of your body and brain. These changes might already be pre-existing in your system, or they may be brought about by ongoing substance abuse.
In the long run, untreated addiction comes with a variety of consequences. These include a variety of other mental and physical health disorders that will require medical attention to manage. Therefore, if you leave your drug addiction untreated in the long run, it is highly likely that it will become life-threatening, disabling, and more severe.
Substance Use And The Brain
As a human being, you are likely to feel happy and pleasurable when you satisfy a basic need - such as thirst, sex, or hunger. In many cases, these feelings of natural pleasure will be triggered by the release of chemicals inside the brain.
Many addictive and intoxicating substances will cause your brain to release these same chemicals - but in higher than normal levels. This means that you will experience higher than normal rewarding or pleasurable feelings.
If these chemicals are released continuously over time, they can cause changes in your brain - including the brain systems that are involved in memory, motivation, and reward.
As a result of the changes, therefore, you will need to continue taking your preferred substances of abuse to feel normal and happy. It is also highly likely that you will also experience intense cravings and desires for the addictive drugs. These desires may cause you to continue using the drugs - in spite of the fact that you would already have started experiencing a variety of dangerous and harmful consequences.
At this stage, you might find that you prefer using drugs instead of engaging in other healthy sources of pleasure. This means that you are likely to lose your interest in daily activities like spending time with loved ones.
The most chronic form of drug addiction as a disease might also cause you to stop caring about your wellbeing and survival - as well as those of others, including people who rely on you (like your family and children).
In many cases, these brain changes are likely to remain active in the long term - even after you stop abusing drugs. Scientists now believe that it is these changes that will leave you vulnerable to relapse and to any environmental, physical, and environmental cues that could trigger a renewal of your old substance using habits.
Addiction As A Chronic Disease
Chronic diseases are defined as those that involve long-lasting conditions that are curable but can be controlled. Today, studies show that as many as 25 to 50% of all people with substance use disorders seem to have severe and chronic disorders. Among these people, addiction takes the form of a relapsing and progressive disease. As such, it requires continuing care and intensive treatments, peer and family support, monitoring, and other ongoing aftercare services to manage recovery.
Luckily, even the most chronic and severe forms of drug addiction and similar substance use disorders are reversible and manageable. This means that continued support and monitoring, as well as long-term treatment, are all effective for recovery.
However, is willpower enough to overcome drug addiction? When you start experimenting with drugs, the early and initial decision to try out these substances will reflect your conscious and free choice.
However, after addiction has changed your brain, this willpower or choice will become severely impaired. This means that drug addiction is a chronic condition - especially because one of its primary defining symptoms is the complete loss of control over your ongoing drug abuse.
In the same way, you might wonder if people who are addicted are responsible for their behavior and actions. As we saw earlier, addiction is a disease like any other. As such, those who are affected by this condition should never be blamed.
Although everyone makes a daily decision to either use or not use drugs, people hardly ever choose how their bodies and brains respond to these mind-altering and intoxicating substances. This is why addicts are unable to control their substance abuse - while others are able to.
Even so, addicts can quit their ongoing substance abuse. Although it will be harder for them to do so - especially in comparison to people who are not yet addicted - it is still a possibility.
To this end, even addicts are responsible for seeking rehabilitation and treatment as well as for maintaining their ongoing recovery. In many cases, however, they are going to need the support and help of their peers, friends, and family to stay in recovery and continue with treatment until they recover fully. Through this form of help, their chances of recovery and survival may be heightened.
The Habit Model Of Addiction
But why do some people contend that addiction is not really a disease? Basically, some people assume that addiction is not an actual disease because of the fact that it occurs as a result of the initial choice to abuse alcohol or drugs.
However, most scientists now believe that people lose control over their behavior once addiction changes their brain - and the functioning and chemical structure of the same organ.
The choice model of addiction, therefore, is contentious - primarily because choice cannot be used to determine whether or not something is a condition or a disease. In fact, many diseases - including but not limited to different forms of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease - are affected by the personal choices you make on a daily basis. In particular, choices like sun exposure, exercise, and diet can all affect the development of these diseases. It is what happens in your body due to these choices that is termed as a disease - much in the same way as drug addiction affects the body.
Others have also argued that drug addiction cannot be considered to be a disease because many people manage to overcome the condition without undergoing treatment and rehabilitation.
However, you should note that people who have mild substance use disorders are often able to recover even with little to no treatment. Even so, those who have serious forms of substance dependence and addiction will more often than not require intensive treatment - sometimes through inpatient or residential rehabilitation - to recovery. This might also have to be followed by the lifelong maintenance and management of the condition.
Even so, some people with a severe addiction have stopped using drugs and drinking even without undergoing treatment. In most of these cases, they were able to stop after they experienced a serious spiritual, physical, occupational, social, or family crisis.
Others have also managed to achieve sobriety as a result of attending support and self-help meetings - such as AA and 12 step meetings. Among these are people who did not receive any professional treatment.
However, since it is not yet understood why some people can stop using drugs and alcohol on their own or as a result of attending self-help meetings, you might want to still seek treatment through a certified and accredited rehabilitation program. This is the only sure that you will receive the help you need to support your ongoing recovery and finally get you to stop relying on mind-altering and intoxicating substances on a day to day basis.
Treating And Curing Addiction
There are several differences between curing and treating addiction from alcohol and drugs. To be more specific, addiction is not an incurable disease. Rather, it is considered to be more of a developed habit and disease that can be cured and managed.
In the past few years, addiction research and science have created significant progress in the form of evidence-based interventions. Through these interventions, many people have managed to overcome their addiction and start leading lives of health, wellness, and sobriety.
However, this is not always true for everyone - and not all addicts will be able to cure their condition. As a disease, addiction is sometimes incurable. However, it can be managed and treated in certain ways to reduce, mitigate, or completely eliminate all its disruptive and damaging effects on the life of the addict. In particular, therapy, counseling, and behavioral modification are all useful in helping addicts regain control over their lives and overcome the condition.
The Journal of Neuroscience published a study in 2001 that showed the main differences between normal brain activity and the activity in the brain of methamphetamine users - both a month and 14 months after the user had stopped using the substance. According to this study, it is clear that the brains of addicts can recover - sometimes almost completely - after a long and sustained period of abstinence and sobriety.
To come to a conclusion, drug addiction is both a condition and a habit. More importantly, it can be cured, treated, managed, and brought under control. However, for this to happen, it is vital that you enroll in an accredited and licensed addiction treatment and rehabilitation program. This will ensure that you have higher chances of overcoming the condition - as well as correcting any physical and psychological damage that ongoing substance abuse might have caused you.
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