The status of addiction has changed over the years. While medical experts answer “yes” when asked is addiction a disease, the general public often takes this answer with a grain of salt. Part of the disconnect stems from the common practice of referring to addictions as habits. A habit is something you have a significant degree of control over, rather than something that happens to you. So, let’s jump in and look at the question: Is addiction a disease?
Is Addiction a Disease?
Many people wonder, “Is addiction a disease?” American culture has a strong underpinning of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. The idea is that with enough work and enough willpower, we can overcome anything. Decades of research suggests that, while a tiny minority of people can power their way through ending addiction without help, they are extraordinary exceptions. Everything addiction specialists understand about this condition indicates that it does follow the disease model.
Why Is Addiction a Disease?
So, why is addiction a disease? In order for something to be a disease, it must show some basic features, including:
- Reduced altered function of some part of the body
- Creates predictable signs and symptoms
- Has adverse effects on a person
Addiction creates all of these basic features. It alters brain function. It has predictable signs and symptoms and yields adverse effects on a person.
For example, addiction changes the production levels of brain chemicals. It has common signs, like withdrawal from social activities or a decline in work quality. It can also have devastating health consequences and damage social relationships.
Addiction also meets some conditions for a chronic disease. Its symptoms can recur and relapse over time, which is also a feature of chronic diseases.
Most addiction treatment takes place in a formal rehab program. Serious addictions usually demand residential rehab programs. Outpatient programs can sometimes handle less severe addictions. All rehab programs rely on evidence-based treatments, such as:
Some rehab centers also provide a range of alternative or holistic treatments, such as equine therapy, art therapy, yoga, and meditation. Some rehab centers also offer aftercare programs, such as sober living options.
Post-rehab, most people attend meetings run by peer support groups. A few of the better-known peer support programs include AA, NA, and SMART Recovery. These groups offer a person reliable support free from common negative judgments.
Phoenix Rising is a rehab center offering psychotherapy for addiction Palm Springs CA offers. We also offer a full range of evidence-based, alternative, and holistic treatment options. We provide our services on a multitude of levels in order to provide the best possible experience for our clients. No matter their exact needs we can help.
While addiction is a disease, it’s a treatable disease. With help from professionals in a drug rehab program, you or a loved one can learn how the disease works and how best to overcome it. Contact Phoenix Rising at 855.232.8211 and see if our treatment program is right for you.