Many people ask, “Is addiction a disease or a choice?” Sometimes, this turns into quite a debate. It’s important for people to understand the answer to this question because there’s such a stigma surrounding addiction. When people don’t believe that addiction is a disease, they’re more likely to treat individuals with addictions poorly. In order to understand the answer to this question, first, we need to define what a disease is.
Is Addiction a Disease?
The definition of a disease is any type of disorder that produces specific signs or symptoms and affects a specific location in the body. As long as alcohol and drugs have been around, people have been struggling with addiction. The problem is that people didn’t have the science or technology to understand why people were unable to stop abusing substances. Thankfully, we’re now able to study addiction and understand how it works.
Those who struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol have a brain that’s not operating properly. The brain is the specific location in the body that drugs and alcohol affect, and it presents with specific signs and symptoms. Brain scans have found that those with an addiction have a limbic system that runs unregulated. This means that a person gets an excess flood of dopamine, and the prefrontal cortex isn’t functioning properly. Due to the failing of the prefrontal cortex, people with an addiction have other common symptoms:
- Lack of self-awareness
- Poor impulse control
- Unstable emotional regulation
- Lack of empathy
Is Addiction a Disease or a Choice?
When asking, “Is addiction a disease or a choice?”, it’s important to understand that these are completely separate. The common argument is that people choose to try drugs or alcohol, so it can’t be a disease. We need to parallel this with other diseases that people don’t ever question like lung cancer. Just because someone is a smoker and develops lung cancer as a result, this doesn’t mean that the cancer isn’t a disease.
The issue with not seeing addiction as a disease is that it means that people see it as a moral failing instead. Those who struggle with this serious, potentially fatal illness often receive judgment rather than treatment. When you go to a qualified addiction treatment center, you learn that addiction is an illness that you can overcome. You’ll have a sense of hope again so you can begin a new life free from active addiction.
Getting Help for Your Addiction
Denver Recovery is an addiction treatment center that can help you begin a brand new life. We specialize in treating people who have lost the power of choice when it comes to drinking or using drugs. We provide a co-ed facility, and we accept various forms of insurance to assist you with the cost of treatment. Some services our facility offers include:
To learn more about our addiction recovery program, call us today at (844) 602-3175.