Is Addiction a Disease?

Disease, disorder, dependency, chronic illness—addiction has many names. For many people, the realization that addiction has a clear definition gives them hope that there is a path to overcome it.

Addiction as a Disease

Addiction is deemed a disease by the medical community, just like cancer or diabetes, where genetics and environmental and behavioral factors play a role in a person’s likelihood of developing the problem. Some people classify addiction as a pre-existing condition, or an affliction sitting dormant, just waiting for that one trigger to unleash it.

This identification of addiction as a disease has helped millions of substance abuse sufferers—and the people who love them—realize that a person with addiction isn’t “bad” or lacking self-control, they’re sick, and there is help for them.

Perception is a major factor in the fight against addiction. Healing substance abuse is like treating any other disease.

Addiction as a Symptom

In the mental health community, addiction is widely considered to be a symptom of something larger, like compulsive behaviors, such as shopping or exercising. This classification can also be freeing for someone who has succumbed to substance abuse.

If a person is driven to take drugs or alcohol, their decision to engage in these behaviors is not associated with morality or laziness, but is rather a symptom of another health problem—a treatable problem from which people can recover. Mental health and addiction often go hand in hand, making dual diagnosis rehab a wise choice for many.

Addiction as a Chronic Illness

Because addiction cannot be explained away as a byproduct of an infectious agent or degenerative condition, many people seek to identify its true definition, and come up with too many options.

In general, addiction is a group of behaviors and a complex condition that changes the brain and body. Left untreated, addiction can cause other physical and mental health problems that are potentially disabling and life-threatening.

A chronic condition is a long-lasting disease that cannot be cured, and while it can be controlled and put into remission, it will always linger and threaten to be reawakened. Addiction typically requires intense treatment and ongoing care and support to maintain recovery.

Overcoming the Disease of Addiction

Addiction has many definitions, and individuals who suffer from substance abuse are multifaceted too. Addiction does not have to define you.

Reach out to Beachside Rehab in West Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss inpatient and outpatient detox, rehab, and holistic recovery. Call today at 866-349-1770 to speak with a trained admissions counselor.


Photo by Elliot Mann on Unsplash