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Is Addiction A Disease?

Everybody agrees that cancer, diabetes, and heart problems are diseases. Reading any addiction recovery blog, you will most likely see addiction referred to as a disease. But is addiction a disease? If you break things down and look at what addiction has in common with the other three listed here, even those who currently don’t think so might change there mind.

Disease Affects How the Brain Works

Is addiction a disease? Doctors run tests to find the cause of diseases. Disease affects the different areas of the body, depending on what the disorder is. Addiction affects the brain. The brain naturally releases dopamine to help us feel pleasure as a reward for doing something. Drugs mimic dopamine triggers by binding to receptors that release dopamine. In fact, they release two to ten times as much dopamine as the body does naturally. Eventually, the brain stops producing its own dopamine and your body needs the drugs in order to feel any type of pleasure. In diabetes, one of the forms occurs when your body does not produce insulin. In order to function, you must take insulin from outside the body. When it comes to the body changing, addiction is a disease. Addiction can rarely be “cured” but it can be managed just like diabetes and heart disease.

Disease is Brought on By a Variety of Factors

Is addiction a disease? Diabetes, heart trouble, and cancer are all caused by a variety of factors. These include behavioral, environmental, and biological. The particular combination of these factors may affect one person adversely and not bother another person. Addiction is the same. A combination of behavioral, environmental, and biological factors all come together to determine who becomes addicted and who does not. As with other diseases, you can predict the possibility of an increased chance of the disease occurs, but you can’t predict it with certainty. Like the other three diseases, addiction has been found to be up to 50 percent genetic. Is addiction a disease. Based on these criteria of a combination of factors, half of which are genetic, the answer is yes.

Is Addiction a Disease? Isn’t it a Choice?

Why is addiction a disease when a person can choose not to do drugs? True. At first, a person chooses to take a drug or drink that first alcohol. Diabetes and other diseases develop due to the choices you make throughout life. You choose your diet, level of exercise, daily habits, and other things. All these choices may have been shown to increase the chances of getting a heart problem or cancer but you do them anyway. You eat that extra piece of the pie, don’t exercise for months at a time, or lie out in the Sun for hours. Addiction, like diabetes or heart issues, becomes more severe and disabling the longer it is left untreated. In the end, all of these, including addiction, can result in death. Is addiction a disease. Yes. It fits the definition and traits perfectly and doctors have been treating addiction as such for some time now.

The Ranch PA and Your Path to Recovery

At The Ranch PA, we believe that the first step on your recovery journey is yours to take. We don’t leave you alone on your journey, however. Once that first step is taken, we’ll help you the rest of the way. Is addiction a disease? We believe it is. We also believe that any disease can be managed with diligence and care. Contact our intake today at 717.969.9126 to start managing your addiction, and we can get you on your road to recovery by tomorrow! We can’t wait to help you find your path to a drug-free future.

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