Some may believe that calling addiction a disease sounds like a cop out. Getting high might seem to be a matter of choice. An escape. An excuse. A poor decision. Maybe all of the latter come into play. However, addiction is most certainly a disease. Make no mistake in thinking otherwise.
You might learn something from Peter S. He holds a high power job on the stock exchange. His college days included night drinking binges. As he entered the work force, Peter spent many evenings out entertaining clients. It didn’t seem like such a big deal that alcohol was a part of every meeting.
The drinking was indeed an issue. Peter didn’t care to admit it initially, but he knew deep down inside that he may have a problem. He knew all along that alcoholism ran deep in his mother’s family. He could recount stories of his grandfather’s drinking binges.
Nevertheless, Peter never thought it was or ever could be an issue for him, until it finally was. Was it possible that he had inherited a genetic disposition to addiction issues?
Addiction is a disease. Whether the drug of choice is alcohol, prescription drugs or heroin, there is no doubt about it. Most don’t put off seeking treatment for other diseases such as cancer. Why should pursuing recovery be any different?
Addiction is a Disease
We understand that you may want some documentation that says addiction is a disease. We’re happy to provide you with recognized sources as follows:
- The American Medical Association declared alcoholism an illness in 1956. In 1991, they further endorsed the classification of alcoholism by the International Classification of Diseases under both the psychiatric and medical sections.
- Like other diseases, genetics play an important role in addiction issues. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence puts the numbers pretty high. In fact about 50% of drug or alcohol issues are due to a genetic disposition to addiction.
- The American Society of Addiction Medicine offers this more detailed definition: Addiction is a primary, chronic, neurobiological disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. Addiction is characterized by behaviors that include one or more of the following:
- Impaired control over drug use
- Compulsive use
- Continued use despite harm
Need Treatment for You or a Loved One?
When you’re suffering from a disease, you need treatment to combat it. You don’t want it to further deteriorate your life.