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Is Addiction a Disease?

Is addiction a disease? According to extensive scientific research and leading experts in addiction treatment, the answer is, Yes, addiction is a disease. Addiction is a mental disorder that affects the brain and alters behavior. Furthermore, it is a compulsion based on a vicious cycle of cravings and rewards in the brain.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) describe addiction as a treatable disease. An addiction treatment center in Houston, TX, may treat addiction in the same manner as a physician treats an illness.  

Is Addiction a Disease?

Is addiction a disease? If so, what characteristics of addiction make it similar to any other disease? 

Physical Changes in Brain Activity

We often behave according to our brain functions. This is why we drink or take drugs when our brain has a craving. Over time your brain develops a vicious cycle of cravings and rewards. 

This is a biological characteristic of the brain based on conditioning. In other words, every time you drink or take drugs, your brain is conditioned to the stimulation that comes from a high level of dopamine or serotonin production. Even after you quit taking the substance, your brain may still crave it for several months or years.

Disturbances in Bodily Functions

Drug or alcohol addiction can affect how systems in your body function. Long-term alcohol or drug use can harm your circulatory, immune, digestive, or central nervous system. The brain, heart, liver, esophagus, and stomach can sustain significant damage if you don’t stop using the substance.

Decreased Quality of Life

Is addiction a disease? One of the ways you can tell is how it affects the user’s overall quality of life. Like any disease, a user may experience a decline in motivation, appetite, sleep, productivity, energy, or even the will to live. Addiction leads to anxiety disorder, depression, guilt, anger, and isolation.

Addiction is Preventable

Similar to other medical conditions, addiction is preventable. The best way to prevent addiction is by leading a healthy lifestyle and avoiding poor choices. You can prevent other diseases from happening through methods such as:

  • Eating right
  • Exercising
  • Living a healthy lifestyle
  • Emphasizing self-care

The same goes for addiction.

Addiction does not exhibit all the characteristics of a disease. For instance, biologically speaking, addiction is not contagious, hereditary, or brought on by external factors. A person does have control over whether they will become an addict and remain one. The bottom line is that addiction is a choice.

However, there is no question that substance use disorder exists from both a physical and psychological standpoint. As long as it has a biological effect on the brand, then treatment specialists must provide addiction treatment and care using a medical approach.

Find Out More About Addiction at Right Step Houston

Is addiction a disease? Find the answers at Right Step Houston. We provide comprehensive treatment for substance abuse at our addiction treatment center in Houston, TX. Call us at 1.844.768.0169 to start your treatment today.


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