Is drug addiction a disease? Addiction affects 19.7 million Americans ages 12 and older each year, while another 10% of Americans are in recovery from a substance use disorder annually. Addiction and substance use disorders are one of the main reasons why drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50.
Although some people may think that a lack of willpower causes addiction, the truth is that addiction is a progressive and chronic disease. Addiction causes significant changes to your brain chemistry. For this reason, it can be difficult to recover from addiction without a high-quality drug detox center in South Florida.
Is Drug Addiction a Disease?
So, is drug addiction a disease? Experts define addiction as a chronic and incurable mental health disease that causes you to abuse drugs and alcohol compulsively. Since drugs and alcohol are neurotransmitter inhibitors, they cause your brain to release a rush of pleasurable neurotransmitters every time you use substances.
This rush of pleasurable neurotransmitters not only is responsible for the positive effects of intoxication but also for the changes to your pleasure and reward center. Once your brain associates using with pleasure, it releases neurotransmitters whenever you use. It also punishes your abstinence by restricting the release of pleasurable. Over time, your brain becomes dependent on your substance of choice in order to release any neurotransmitters, which creates a significant imbalance that impacts your mood and cognition.
Your brain also associates people, places, and things that remind you of your substance of choice with pleasure. This means that you can experience intense cravings when you are exposed to triggers.
Addiction can also impair your judgment and your decision-making centers, making you more likely to engage in risky and dangerous behaviors.
Addiction can also:
- Increase conflict with friends and family members
- Cause financial hardships
- Lead to mental health and medical problems
- Cause employment instability
When wondering is drug addiction a disease, it’s important to remember that addiction progressively worsens until you reach out for help. That help starts with a Florida drug and alcohol detox center.
How Is Addiction Treated?
Since addiction causes changes to your brain chemistry, it takes time to recover. Your brain has to re-learn how to release the proper amount of neurotransmitters, which can cause mood changes during the early phases of recovery.
Learning how to cope with things like triggers and cravings is another important element of treatment, and proof that drug addiction is a disease. Addiction professionals use cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapy can help you learn how to identify and change negative thinking patterns, feelings and behaviors. Individual, group and family therapy can improve your problem-solving and communication skills.
Reaching Out for Help Today
While millions of people struggle with addiction, many still wonder if drug addiction is a disease. Since addiction can impact your thoughts and behaviors and lead to cognitive damage, substance use disorders are considered a disease. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, finding help starts with a phone call to Summit Detox in Boynton Beach, FL. To find out more about Summit Detox and how treatment can provide you with the tools you need to beat addiction, call us today at 866.341.0638.