Is addiction a disease? What is an addiction, and how does it affect a person’s life? This article will talk about addiction, its harmful effects on the person who suffers from it, and how to get over it.
What is addiction?
Addiction is defined as a disorder that affects the brain and other parts of the body of a person who suffers from it. It involves the compulsive need to use more and more of a particular substance. The person will continue the use of the usually harmful substance despite the consequences to their physical, mental, and emotional health as well as damaging significant relationships in the process.
Addiction affects the parts of the brain that are responsible for learning, motivation, judgment, and memory. Addiction and the overuse of certain harmful substances also have detrimental effects on specific body systems as well. It can make the overall health decline without so much as a second glance from the person suffering from the addiction. For the person, their need for the substance will always outweigh anything else.
Is addiction a disease?
Many experts consider addiction to be a disease that affects the mental and physical body of a person. Like other diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiac diseases may be caused by a lifestyle choice.
Some people do not consider addiction to be a disease
There are quite a few people who do not agree that addiction is supposed to be classified as a disease. The premise for their opinion comes from the assumption that people who suffer from addiction got into that position because of choice. It was the person who decided to start the harmful lifestyle habit that led to their addiction. This is why these people do not think addiction should not be classified as a disease.
However, this is a wrong notion. Whether or not it is a person’s conscious choice that led them down the path to addiction, that should not determine whether addiction is a disease or not. After all, if a person makes a choice to start smoking at a young age, and then ends up with lung cancer when they are older, it does not affect whether lung cancer is a disease or not.
Addiction and chronic disease
What is chronic illness? This is defined as a disease that can be controlled using therapy and medication but not cured. Most people who have an addiction to a substance also suffer from a chronic illness. Statistically, 25 to 50% of people suffering from substance abuse fall into this category.
The people who suffer from both addiction and a chronic disease go on a cycle of trying to cope with the condition they have and trying to control their addiction to certain substances that are needed to aid their recovery.
The good thing is that chronic disease and addiction can be managed by therapy, treatment methods, and the watchful eye of a doctor.
How addiction affects the brain
Pleasure is reached when people satisfy basic human urges like hunger, thirst, and sex. The feeling of pleasure is felt when certain chemicals in the brain are produced when these urges are satisfied.
Addiction happens because certain substances can mimic the effect of having urges satisfied. These substances can make the human body release the same hormones and chemicals that are produced when a person is extremely happy or satisfied. If a person develops and an addiction to a particular substance, it is because their brain has become accustomed to the feeling of satisfaction. These people need these harmful drugs and substances to have a sense of normalcy.
Getting over an addiction
Most of the time, people who have an addiction need to have an intervention done to help them get over the addiction they have. Most people who suffer from addiction are not aware that something is wrong and that they need help. This is because of the damage that has been done to their brains; the function for correct judgment has already been compromised as a result of the addiction. It is the responsibility of the family and friends of the person with the addiction to get them to the proper people and facilities that can help them get over their addiction.
Different treatments are available to help a person overcome their addiction. Cognitive behavior therapy, practicing mindfulness, and counseling are only a few of the techniques that can successfully help a person get over their addiction. However, one treatment method may work for one person but not as successful for another. Doctors and other members of the medical team tasked with helping the person overcome their addiction all help decide with treatment method will work best depending on the severity of the addiction and the other factors involved.
Addiction is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. People who have an addiction have a disease that can be treated with the support of family and the willingness of the person to make a conscious effort to change and get over their addiction. As with any other disease, it is not a permanent situation. People can get over their addiction with time and proper treatment.
If you know anybody who has an addiction, know that you can help them. Please encourage them to change and seek help for the addiction they have. The sooner you intervene, the better it will be for the person with the addiction. You may never know, but you may save a life if you choose to intervene.