Making the Case that Addiction is a Disease – Not a Moral Failing
When you think about illnesses that are classified as diseases, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes may immediately come to mind. Why? Because they are often referred to as such in the medical community and among others. But, when you’re talking about drug and alcohol addiction, some may argue that they are not a disease, but rather a moral failing. The truth is that addiction is a disease, one that can be overcome with the right help from an addiction treatment center.
Why Addiction is a Disease
The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction as a “chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences.” This is because often when people are addicted to drugs or alcohol their brain functions are altered and can be life-changing.
Addiction is a disease because it disrupts the normal functions of an organ just as heart disease affects the heart. When comparing addiction and heart disease, both can be treated, but when they are not, they can be deadly.
Much like heart disease, addiction can also be genetic. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are certain genes that can be carried on in those who are found to have an addiction. Many people are under the assumption that all addiction is a matter of a person making bad choices. When genetics and biology are involved, that argument is invalid because we can’t control our genes or our chemical make-up.
If you are aware that there is a drug or alcohol problem in your family, you can make an effort to be active in healthy activities and look for positive ways to reduce stress to avoid addiction.
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Other Factors That Can Contribute to Addiction
There are also environmental factors that can contribute to addiction. Stress, abuse, violence, access to drugs and alcohol at an early age, and being around people who do drugs or drink excessively can all have a role in a person’s addiction.
This is not to say that everyone who encounters those factors will become addicted. There are protective factors that can come into play for some people that will help them fight off an addiction before it starts. Self-control, family support, and anti-drug programs can all help people to avoid going down the path of addiction. Some people are fortunate to have these in their lives, while others aren’t, making them more susceptible to addiction. This is not to say that it’s a case of a moral failing for them, rather it can have more to do with circumstances.
How an Addiction Treatment Center Can Help
Understanding that addiction is a disease can help with treatment. When people believe it is a moral failing, it may prevent them from seeking help or affect the quality of treatment they receive. Depression and low self-esteem can begin to make an individual who suffers from addiction believe that they can’t get better or don’t deserve the treatment.
There is nothing further from the truth. An addiction treatment center can help those individuals get to the root of their addiction and help them understand what lead them there.
At Ocean Hills Recovery, California addiction treatment center, patients can get vital individualized treatment because all treatment plans are based on each patient’s needs. Since everyone’s addiction circumstances are different, their treatment plans need to suit their needs, not someone else’s.
A common part of drug and alcohol addiction treatment is therapy. Through individual sessions and group sessions, patients can begin to open up to what lead them to their addiction and get the support they need from others going through the same thing.
Besides therapy sessions, Ocean Hills Recovery also uses the 12-step method of recovery. This involves attending meetings where patients recognize several things including that they can make amends for mistakes they’ve made. They also learn to live a new life under a new set of rules.
During this process, patients not only get the support they need but also learn how to channel their emotions through positive activities rather than drug and alcohol abuse. As patients undergo treatment, many take up writing or painting as a way to work through their addiction.
Admitting there is a problem is the first, and often the most difficult step. If you or someone you know needs an addiction treatment center, contact Ocean Hills Recovery today. There is always a staff member available 24/7 to take your call and listen to your story. Call today to speak to someone, or fill out our online contact form. Let Ocean Hills Recovery help you to battle this disease with the right course of treatment.
About the author:
Greg opened his home and heart to alcoholics and addicts in 2003. He is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATCI). Starting in 2009 Greg has fostered the growth of Ocean Hills Recovery into one of the most respected and effective treatment centers in the area and has been working with people with addictions since March of 2001. Greg believes in a holistic approach to recovery. His focus is on drug alcohol addiction treatment with a combination of 12 Step work, therapy and counseling, and the rejuvenation of the body through healthful eating and exercise. He has designed his program to foster a family-like atmosphere and believes that people in recovery are just beginning their lives. He encourages the people he works with to learn to enjoy life in sobriety. Greg is married to Nicole; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.