The classification of addiction hasn’t remained stable over time. These days, for example, the medical community at large gives a solid affirmative if asked, “Is addiction a disease?” Despite this stance by doctors, much of the public perception of heroin addiction and the like is that it’s a choice that people make. This butting of heads of addiction’s status as a disease may stem from calling addictions “habits.” After all, you can master your habits, rather than being mastered by them. So, let’s look a little deeper into the question: Is addiction a disease?
Is Addiction a Disease?
It’s very common for those without direct experience with it to ask, “Is addiction a disease?” In a culture defined by stories of self-made men who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, there’s this notion of willpower overcoming any problem. Unfortunately, the research doesn’t support this when it comes to addiction. The absurdly small number of people who successfully beat addiction on their own are the exception, not the rule. If willpower alone could overcome addiction, places like a medical detox center Corona CA offers wouldn’t prove a necessity.
Why Is Addiction Considered a Disease?
You might ask the very reasonable question: “Why is addiction considered a disease?” That begs the more fundamental question, “What is a disease?” A disease is a condition that creates certain features, such as:
- Altered or otherwise reduced function of a body part
- Produces a set of predictable symptoms and signs
- Creates adverse effects on a human being
Addiction does all of these things. It changes how your brain operates. Experts can recognize consistent signs and symptoms of it. It has adverse effects that can damage the nervous system, heart, bones, or organs, depending on the drug.
An excellent example of how addiction alters body part functions is that it changes the amounts of certain chemicals that your brain makes. A sign common to all addiction is withdrawing from activities a person used to enjoy.
Addiction may also qualify as a chronic disease. In chronic diseases, a person’s symptoms go away for a time and then come back. When someone experiences an addiction relapse, it’s often because symptoms like cravings came back at just the wrong time.
While the public might not always agree, the answer is yes to the question is addiction a disease.
Treating addiction typically starts with purging the body of drugs, except in cases where step-down programs prove safer. Both purging and step-down programs begin at a detox center.
The typical follow up for a detox program is a residential rehab program. In residential programs, you live at the rehab center and participate in evidence-based therapies, such as:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
- Family Therapy
- 12-Step Programs
- Aftercare Programs
Completing a standard program takes about a month, but some programs offer extended programs that last two or three months.
Ridgeview Recovery offers a men’s-only residential rehab program located in Corona, CA.
Don’t let the disease of addiction control your future. Get treatment for the disease in a quality rehab program. Contact Ridgeview by calling 855.463.5505, and we’ll help you find your way back.