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Is Addiction a Disease?

Is Addiction a Disease?

Addiction Is a Disease…

To state that addiction has long been a major issue in America would be a gross understatement. Even today, the country faces an epidemic of prescription drug abuse. Before judging drug abusers and alcoholics too harshly, we must keep one very important fact in mind. For years now, addictions have been classified by the medical profession as legitimate diseases.

Defining Addiction as a Disease

For decades, people suffering from addictions were submitted to shame. A lot of people viewed them as morality weakened individuals who were unable to control their urges. Thanks to a lot of research done by key people in the medical and mental health professions, things slowly changes and people started accepting addictions as diseases.In all fairness, drug addiction and/or alcohol abuse are not conventional diseases. They lack a infectious agent and don’t arise due to any known biologically degenerative conditions. With all that said, it still seems prudent to classify most addictions as a disease or mental disorder at the very least.

To support this notion, experts simply point to the fact that addicts have no control over their disorders. They may have started abusing substances innocently enough as a mere reaction to life problems or the need to escape. However, there comes a point of no return where the addiction takes over and the individual loses control over the abuse. Even attempts to stop using are met with withdrawal symptoms that seem to act negatively as motivation to keep using.

Getting Help

There’s a hundred doorways into the world of addiction. Unfortunately, there’s only one consistently reliable way out. People who are suffering from drug addiction and/or alcohol abuse need treatment from a professional addiction treatment center. Much like someone with measles might consult a medical doctor, the same should be true for drug users and alcoholics, who might seek help from addiction “doctors.”. For the most part, a drug rehab and alcohol rehab differ very little as far as treatment is concerned. They both include the possibility of detox, followed by therapy and aftercare programs when necessary.

The Process

Depending on the depth of a patient’s addiction, the recovery process may be started in a detox program. Addiction treatment specialists design these programs to allow patients ample opportunity to get past their cravings while eliminating harmful toxins from their systems. Once a detoxification program has been successfully completed, patients should be better able to focus on the next step in the recovery process, therapy and counseling.Therapy and counseling is where most of the hard work is done by both patients and their counselors. Each patient needs to enter therapy with a mindset directed towards open and honest communication. In the beginning, counselors know very little about why their patient’s chose to abuse a substance. During the process of self-discovery, the patients need to help their counselors figure out the whys.

Causation is not always easily found. Sometimes, it lies hidden within other mental disorders or a complicated web of personal problems. Still, knowing the whys is important. Without this information, it’s near impossible for patients to develop the proper coping skills. Without the proper coping skills to get past temptations and triggers, patients are far more likely to relapse. With the proper coping skills, many people go on to live productive lives without ever touching another drug or drink.

It’s worth noting that many of the nation’s top rehab facilities have moved away from treating all patients with a cookie-cutter approach to treatment. Instead, modern day clinicians prefer to offer customized treatment plans that address the specific needs of each patient. This approach has proven to be highly effective.

The last step in the treatment process is aftercare. When a patient leaves a drug rehab or alcohol rehab, they are still new to the recovery process. Often times, the real world is scary enough to give someone in recovery shaky knees. When this happens, aftercare programs (12-Step meetings, sober living homes) can help round off the rough edges. Many times, these types of programs have helped pave the way for recoveries that truly last a lifetime.

Anyone who is fighting the cycle of addiction needs to be aware they have choice. They can continue abusing substances and subsequently, continue creating more problems for themselves. As an alternative option, they can stop using and reach out for help. Sobriety is all it’s cracked up to be and more.