Is Addiction a Disease?

Is addiction a disease is a common question people ask in an attempt to understand why it is so difficult to quit drugs or alcohol. While addiction is defined as a “chronic disease” of the brain, it is a treatable condition. Granite Recovery Centers offer a 12 step program in NH for men and women seeking to recover from the disease. The goal of addiction treatment programs is to help you identify what makes you turn to substance abuse. Treatment also equips you with coping skills to recover and stay sober.

Is Addiction a Disease?

Yes. It is also called a substance use disorder that affects the brain and rational decision-making. Addiction means a person is unable to control drug or alcohol use regardless of the negative consequences on their life. Unfortunately, not everyone understands why this happens or how to deal with it.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), many people mistakenly think those who abuse drugs lack morals or self-control. Otherwise, they would quit. But because “drug addiction is a chronic and “complex disease,” treatment is usually necessary to help them recover and live productive lives.

How Substance Abuse Affects the Brain

The answer to is addiction a disease links back to how long-term use or abuse of prescription drugs, street drugs, or alcohol causes a substance use disorder. The disorder occurs due to changes in brain chemistry and functions. For example, opioids bind the natural opioid receptors in the brain. Simulants and depressants increase dopamine and serotonin levels. The result is tolerance for the substance, persistent cravings, and taking larger doses of drugs or alcohol to satisfy the craves.

Furthermore, people find it far more difficult to quit substance abuse when it co-occurs with underlying mental health problems that require dual diagnosis treatment. These include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Is Addiction a Disease You Can Overcome?

Drug and alcohol addiction is quite prevalent in the United States. A 2018 report by the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that 55.6 percent of the population ages 18-25 used illicit drugs in their lifetime. Of this, 38.7 percent did so within the past year. 73.1 percent of people in the same age group used alcohol within the same year.

Addiction occurs when someone is physically and mentally dependent on drugs or alcohol. Dual dependence makes it twice as difficult to overcome the disease on your own. Physical detox and mental health treatment are usually necessary to help people get past addiction in many cases.

Medication-Assisted Detox

People get hooked on drugs by taking too many prescription drugs. Others snort, smoke, or inject prescription opioids, depressants, or stimulants or street drugs such as heroin or cocaine. However, medically-supervised detox is recommended to avoid the risks of severe or life-threatening physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit.

One major advantage is having a trained doctor to help you manage the symptoms. This helps to increase your chances of recovering. Nevertheless, detox alone is rarely sufficient to maintain long-term abstinence.

Treatment for Addiction

Not only is addiction a disease, but it is also a relapsing disease that has no cure. 40 to 60 percent of individuals treated for substance use disorder are likely to suffer a relapse. Granite Recovery Centers’ comprehensive addiction treatment programs include Dual Diagnosis to address physical and psychological dependence. In addition, treatment goals include helping you to stop substance abuse, manage cravings, prevent relapse, and resume a productive life.

Other program options include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy are evidence-based modalities that address underlying disorders and retrain the brain to respond positively to substance use triggers.

Real recovery starts with the right treatment approach

Is addiction a disease you badly want to overcome? Granite Recovery Centers can help you if you’re 18 years or older and live in New Hampshire, New England, or Massachusetts. Our addiction treatment professionals provide effective treatment in a caring environment. Because sobriety is an ongoing process, we can include 12 Step and Aftercare programs to match your recovery needs. Call 855.712.7784 to ask about admissions for you or a family member.

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