You might think you know all about addiction. After all, it’s a word used every day in the news. We hear about the problem with people becoming addicted to painkillers. We hear references to a heroin epidemic. And, we all know someone who claims they were caught drunk driving because they were an alcoholic.
In many cases, we’ve turned into a “blame society.” Surely the heroin addict knew the consequences before he stuck the needle in his arm. There is no such thing as one last drink. The doctor prescribed pain meds, so they must be okay. Sound like something you’ve contemplated? Then, there are some things you could stand to learn about addiction.
Spotlight on Addiction: Know These Important Facts
- Alcoholism and Chemical Dependency Are Primary Diseases | The American Medical Association (AMA) determined that alcoholism was an illness in 1956. In 1987, they expanded on the definition to officially term addiction as a disease. This would include abuse of any substance that alters moods. Generally, substance dependence is evaluated using certain criteria over a twelve-month period.
- Genetics and Addiction | The University of Utah provides excellent resource information concerning the relationship of genetics to addiction. Although genes play a role in addiction, studies show that not everyone within a family will become addicted. For some, it will be harder to stop using drugs or alcohol once they start. This could also represent a higher than usual sensitivity to chemical substances.
- Predisposition to Alcohol or Drug Abuse | It isn’t just genetics that gives someone a predisposition to abuse drugs or alcohol. According to this scholarly article, environmental factors also influence alcoholism and substance abuse. This is particularly true in children who have been abused. It also occurs when there are issues with early development.
- Untreated Addiction Can Cause Other Issues | If left untreated, addiction can cause a myriad of issues. This includes both medical and mental health problems. At Clearbrook, we treat substance abuse as a primary disease. In many cases, it is looked upon as a chronic illness.
- Chemical Dependency Can Change the Way the Brain Acts | It’s obvious when someone is impaired that they are out of control. However, this is not only the case when they are in the midst of a “high.” Alcohol and drugs can severely alter cognitive functions. They can cause memory losses and permanent brain damage.
At Clearbrook, we realize that many addicts stay untreated because they feel powerless. Our trained staff and counselors can help with a better comprehension of the disease and the ways to treat it. Contact us for assistance.