Is addiction a disease? Whether you or a loved one is struggling with a substance abuse issue, addiction or alcoholism, you may have heard addiction referred to as a disease. You also may be wondering why is addiction a disease.
While using drugs or alcohol may be a choice, addiction impacts your brain chemistry and physical health. Drugs and alcohol create intense feelings of euphoria by changing the number of neurotransmitters your brain releases. Your brain becomes dependent on your substance of choice in order to produce things like serotonin and dopamine.
In understanding why addiction is a disease, it’s important to remember that addiction requires treatment, just like other medical and mental health disorders. We can help you with how to choose a rehabilitation facility for treatment based on your addiction and needs.
Why Is Addiction a Disease?
Addiction causes your brain chemistry to change. While substances vary on what receptors they impact in the brain, drugs, and alcohol all create changes to your brain chemistry. Drugs like opiates cause your brain to release excessive levels of dopamine, leading to feelings of intense euphoria. The reward center in your brain then associates your substance of choice with the positive feelings related to intoxication.
This association causes intense cravings for the substance you are addicted to, even when using creates negative consequences or is highly dangerous. Your brain becomes unable to release the proper levels of neurotransmitters without the help of your substance of choice. Addiction also impacts your ability to make decisions and control your emotions and impulses. Your brain can recover following treatment, but in the early stages of recovery, you will experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Your brain will naturally crave your substance of choice while you experience painful physical withdrawal symptoms during detox.
Addiction can also cause:
- Memory problems
- Changes to what motivates you
- Changes to your pleasure and reward center in your brain
- Needing substances in order to feel normal
- Your brain rewarding behavior that results in adverse consequences
- Decreased metabolism in the brain
Because addiction drastically changes your brain chemistry, treatment is extremely beneficial in helping you learn to cope with recovery as your body and mind begin to heal.
How Addiction is Treated
In understanding why addiction is a disease, the importance of treatment becomes self-evident. Treatment programs understand the complex relationship between addiction and brain chemistry. Programs develop strategies to help you overcome addiction. Evidence-based treatment helps you learn to cope with triggers. For instance, some evidence-based treatments include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This therapy focuses on identifying negative thinking patterns and actively changing them.
- EMDR Therapy: Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy have proven effective in treating individuals dealing with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy: Similar to cognitive behavioral therapy, DBT focuses on high-risk or difficult to treat conditions.
Again, these treatments allow you to cope with triggers in your personal life and environment. Triggers are stimuli, like people, places or things, that make you crave your drug or substance of choice. Treatment helps you identify your triggers and develop healthy coping strategies to prevent relapses and support your recovery.
Finding Help at Victory Bay Recovery Center
Battling addiction can be difficult without help. This is why Victory Bay offers many programs to help you or your loved one:
- Family therapy program
- Outpatient addiction treatment programs
- Cocaine addiction treatment center
- Alcohol addiction treatment center
When you’re asking, is addiction a disease, it may seem overwhelming, but like other diseases, addiction is treatable. Victory Bay Recovery, which has the best benzo addiction treatment center South Jersey offers, understands what it takes to recover from addiction. Call us today at 855.259.1624 to learn more about how our extensive program options can help you or a loved one find your path to recovery.