Addiction Is A Disease
A disease is a medical condition that prevents the body or mind from functioning normally. Though many people doubt the fact that addiction is a disease, they will find that in reading about the affect of drugs and alcohol on the brain—furthermore, addiction’s control of the brain—the learned information rings true of any ailment which has progressed into the descriptive territory of a disease.
Making it more difficult yet for many to accept that addiction is a disease is that many diseases are characterized by their inability to be fully cured. Cancer, for instance, is a disease that does not actually go away, it simply goes into remission. Some types of diabetes can also only be in remission, which is to say you may never experience symptoms again for the rest of your life, BUT, you still have the disease. Still having it means that it can still affect you in the future of your life. Routine tests, scans, and checkups are the norm for patients with diseases in remission.
Addiction is a disease that never goes away. Like a cancer, its “cells” still live within you, making it possible for its affects on your mind and body to return, and even be worse than previously experienced.
Many people will still want to dispute the fact that addiction is a disease, perhaps because they do not have too many experiences with it. It must be known that once a user is not only abusing drugs and alcohol, but experiences withdrawal symptoms, cravings, tolerances, and mental and physical issues related to their excessive use, they are usually addicted to the substance they are abusing. Addiction can stem from metal health issues, genetic tendencies, and overuse triggering dependency. Regardless of how the addiction began, once someone is addicted to a drug, their body’s reaction to that drug and its effects can still be seen even if the drug is used 20 years after “recovery” takes place. Quick spirals into addiction usually ensue with regard to how the drug was once in control of the mind and body.
Biology: Drug’s Affects Are Facts
Slow down the body’s functions and reactions. Alcohol, Valium, Zoloft, and GHB are all examples of depressants. Each drug, including alcohol affects the brain in a different, though similar way. Alcohol, for example, has some affect to the opioid receptors in the brain, but it also provides a negative effect in the area of the brain where we find reward in what we do, think, and feel.
Depressants cause dependency in the body, physical withdrawal, mental and physical cravings, and promote tolerances that cause a user to need more in order to feel the effects of the drug. Addiction to depressants is a disease because it alters the functions of the brain, creating disturbed perceptions and promoting cravings that are both mental and physical.
Speed up the body’s functions and reactions. Amphetamines, such as Adderall and other ADD drugs, cocaine, and methamphetamine are all stimulants. The desired side effects, the physical highs, and the emotional and mental peaks are what make stimulants addictive. Users commonly have trouble, once they start, letting go of what makes them feel better or good. Tolerances can be built with the use of stimulants and breaking habits when withdrawal is of consequence makes this disease difficult to conquer.
Change the way the brain perceives pain. Anesthetics include such drugs as: PCP and club drugs like ketamine. Addictive and dangerous, dissociative anesthetics often cause psychosis that may not be reversible. Physical dependence to these drugs are high, with PCP causing extreme tolerance and harsh withdrawal.
Users of dissociative anesthetics become addicted to the euphoric highs, the physical feelings, which include numbness and common out-of-body sensations. One critical aspect of this addiction as a disease is the overwhelming tendency for psychosis to set in. Mental instability often furthers the drug use and makes needed treatment more elaborate.
Narcotics which relieve pain. These drugs include heroin, methadone, morphine, Vicodin, and other prescribed and illicit pain relievers. Narcotic analgesics are extremely physically addictive. They cause furious withdrawal symptoms, create chemical changes in the brain that provide both physical and mental dependency, tolerances become higher and higher, and side effects are often quite dangerous.
Those who have developed an addiction to an analgesic oftentimes will turn to a similar, yet more potent form. That is to say, those who were prescribed a legal pain reliever, such as Vicodin, for a medical reason, may find themselves using heroin when their addiction sets in. Addiction to this form of drug has been linked to genetic tendency and can become a problem after only a few uses of any narcotic analgesic.
Understanding addiction to analgesics as a disease is as easy as knowing more about
methadone clinics. Those who are “recovered” are still at risk of redeveloping their addiction later in life. For this reason, many recovered users will request no painkillers following injury or surgery and will need an alternative, such as Suboxone or Subutex to thwart pain as the brain perceives it.
Other serious drug addictions that do not fall into one of the above categories exist. Those addictions, like the above, are also diseases that should always be taken seriously.
Treatments For Disease
There are several types of treatment for these main and life-threatening drug addictions. Seeking help with withdrawal symptoms, so as not to return to drug use is a first step. This process of detoxification can be done in a medical setting with assistance and is commonly offered at rehab facilities and in certain hospitals.
Following detoxification, those who desire remission from their disease should seek help based on their specific addiction and any additional problems they may have. Those who suffer from depression or the like may desire, for instance, to go into a program that addresses dual diagnosis (mental health plus addiction). This style of treatment will not only help with addiction, but will address what may have caused addiction in the first place: mental health problems.
Some drugs are more difficult to stop doing than others. This all depends on the user and the substance and can be treated with intensive forms of therapy and long-term rehabilitation programs.
A Step Toward Freedom
Though everyone is different, it is safe to say that anyone with an addiction DOES have a disease. This disease, like a cancer, is treatable, but must be viewed as being in remission when in recovery. Seeking treatment can be made easy by contacting DrugRehab.org for assistance, questions, and guidance today.