The debate on whether drug and alcohol addiction is a disease or not has been going on for a long time and shows no signs of slowing down. Coming to terms with an addiction is already extremely challenging, and the stigma surrounding drug and alcohol addiction can make recovery that much harder.
Reach out to the addiction treatment center in Stuart, Florida for confidential rehab programs.
Moving Beyond Drug and Alcohol Addiction Stigma
The stigma surrounding drug and alcohol addiction can be demoralizing for those suffering from alcohol and substance use disorders. There’s a common, albeit incorrect, way of thinking that places blame wholly and solely on those with an addiction. While personal responsibility and owning your mistakes is a huge part of recovery, it can still be disheartening to believe it’s just a series of poor decisions.
But addiction is a disease that one in seven people are expected to develop according to the Surgeon General. Recent research indicates that while our choices and decisions play a large role in the development of addiction, ultimately addiction is a disease that we cannot help.
Addiction is a Disease
Addiction is a brain disease defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine as “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.” It’s characterized by the inability to consistently abstain from a substance or activity, accompanied by impaired behavior control, compulsive cravings, trouble recognizing any problems that may occur as a result of those cravings, and dysfunctional response to such problems.
Addiction Compared to Other Chronic Diseases
There are many different things that can contribute to how susceptible someone might be to drug and alcohol addiction. Factors like genetics, personal environment and culture also play a part in the development of an addiction.
Addiction has been compared to other chronic diseases like type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. While it may seem like a frivolous comparison to make, it’s fair when you consider they are all diseases that can come about by lifestyle decisions and genetics. They all involve cycles of relapse and remission, and without treatment or intervention, all three diseases are potentially fatal.
The initial decision to take drugs or drink alcohol is usually a voluntary one; however, once those substances have been introduced, there is a lot of compelling evidence that these substances change the way we think, affecting the very structure of our brain.
Drug Abuse Hijacks the Brain
Drug abuse can change various areas in the brain, like the brain stem, the cerebral cortex, and the limbic system. When we introduce substances like drugs and alcohol, the chemicals flood our brain circuitry with dopamine. This naturally-occurring chemical controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Because this influx of dopamine overstimulates our system and makes us feel good, it teaches our brain to seek the same effect again, thus beginning the cycle of drug and alcohol addiction.
Our brain creates distinctive memories of that strong euphoric feeling. These memories can be activated by specific stresses or circumstances, which is why we feel more inclined to drink or do drugs during times of trouble.
Recovery from the Disease of Addiction
As with many other chronic diseases, recovery from substance abuse must be closely monitored and managed in order to decrease the chance of relapsing, as well as to ensure an optimal standard of living and daily functioning. The bad news is that drug and alcohol addiction relapse is very common during recovery, despite diligent supervision. According to research published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, among the people who receive treatment for substance abuse disorders, up to 60% will relapse within one year. Don’t let that deter you from seeking help, however. 84 percent of those who attempted to quit without seeking help relapsed within the first year. Your chance of success relies on how much support you receive.
Wellness Counseling and Residential Detox helps those who have relapsed or are seeking treatment for the first time. Addiction is a disease and we understand the need for multiple levels of treatment and support. Therefore, our services include:
- Residential treatment program in Stuart
- Specialized substance abuse detox
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP) in FL
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP) in FL
- Continuing care and alumni services
Facing the Truth of Drug and Alcohol Addiction
There are many different, successful treatment options for those with drug and alcohol addiction. Notably, behavioral counseling, medication, mutual support groups, detoxification, and rehabilitation programs. No single treatment is right for everyone. Deciding which path to take is a personal decision. But with so many effective recovery methods, you’ll find one that suits your needs. The best way to find the right method means reaching out for help and receiving oversight, as successful recovery requires support. Facing the truth and strength of addiction can be frightening. But remember, that even the most severe cases have found a world of support, and a positive outcome. It’s challenging to ask for help, but it is much harder to try and do it on your own.
Our Admissions Coordinators are here to help 24 hours a day. They help people just like you find the right treatment for drug and alcohol addiction every day. All it takes is a simple phone call to find the best addiction treatment program for you. Call Wellness Counseling and Residential Detox at 772.773.1336 today for potential same day addiction treatment and insurance verification.