Disease of Addiction

Every day, addiction treatment options provide countless individuals with a chance at freedom and recovery. Alcohol addiction alone claims over 3 million lives annually – an alarming statistic that highlights the urgent need for quality care to prevent such tragedies from happening in future generations.


Despite its prevalence in our society, individuals often overlook how damaging hazardous addiction can be not just for them but for their families too. With effective rehabilitation programs at Agape Detox Center, it’s possible to break the cycle and rebuild your life for good. 

Substance addiction is a complex and often misunderstood condition. It can start with the recreational use of drugs, but more commonly begins when using prescription medications to treat other illnesses such as pain or even addiction itself. Though it seems counterintuitive, we must remember that those suffering from an addictive disorder are managing an incurable chronic disease, rather than simply just engaging in dangerous behavior.

Addiction is more than just a bad habit; it’s a chronic disease that rewires the brain’s ability to resist impulses surrounding addictive substances. Its impacts can be long-lasting and even life-threatening, but through treatment and support, these effects can be safely managed.

Addiction as a Disease

Addiction Risk Factors

There are many risk factors for addiction. However, a family history of addiction is one of the most common factors that increase a person’s likelihood of developing an alcohol or drug dependency. This is because genetics play a significant role in how the brain functions. 

A person is also at a greater risk of developing an addiction if exposed to environmental situations that may cause them to seek comfort in a substance. For example, children that grow up in tense home environments or environments that lack structure, discipline, and emotional fulfillment often seek comfort from substances that alter the mind as adults. 

Oftentimes, people will experiment with alcohol or drugs in their teenage or early adult years, increasing the risk of becoming addicted down the road. In these cases, it’s not uncommon for individuals to use the substance as a way of belonging and accepted by a group of people. 

Mental health is another important factor when it comes to understanding the risk of addiction. Those living with mental disorders are more likely to rely on drugs or alcohol as a form of coping mechanism for their feelings, such as depression and anxiety. Thus, taking care of our emotional well-being can be vital in helping us avoid developing addiction.

Why Some Say Addiction is Not A Disease

Many argue that addiction is not a disease because it requires choosing to use the substance. However, the DSM-5-TR, the classification standard mental health professionals use, officially classifies substance use disorder as a chronic disease.

Instead, they become addicted because of the changes the substance causes within their brain. This is why some become addicted, while others who use the same substance may not form an addiction. This occurs much in the same way that making unhealthy choices can lead to heart disease or diabetes. 

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Addiction Changes Our Normal Behaviors

Addiction affects the brain in deep and powerful ways. By using addictive substances, people can cause an increase of dopamine levels within their brains – a chemical closely linked with pleasure sensations. Over time, however, this sets off a chain reaction where natural production is reduced, forcing it to rely on these drugs for feelings of normality (and needing more each time). This dependence also causes pathways in our minds that convince us we need these chemicals regardless of the harmful effects.

Willpower Isn't Always Enough

Ultimately, the key to overcoming addiction lies in a deeper understanding of its roots, not just willpower alone. For example, substances can be used to ease the effects of underlying mental illnesses and other issues that drive individuals toward dependency. However, without proper attention to these matters, it will become more difficult for users to stay on track as symptoms resurface, even with strong motivation present.

How Addiction Impacts Behavior

When it comes to happiness, dopamine plays an essential role. Our brains naturally release this chemical when we accomplish something or have a good time, providing the sensation of pleasure and focus. Drugs, however, can increase these levels beyond normal circumstances leading to euphoric feelings that humans often crave. Impulsivity, memory problems, and lack of drive can all be signs that something is changing in your brain’s neurological system. Unchecked addiction issues might stem from these changes, making it harder to focus on tasks you used to find joy and dedication in.

Getting Treatment for Addiction

Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction? If so, it’s important to know that help is available. Addiction is a serious issue that continues to be one of the leading preventable causes of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Compassionate care and support from Agape can make all the difference by offering safe and effective treatments for substance abuse disorders. Make today count, reach out to our Admissions team now.

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