Is Addiction a Disease?

It’s a common misconception that an alcohol or drug habit is a sign of character weakness. Knowing that it isn’t a character flaw leaves a lot of people wondering what it actually is. Is addiction a disease? And if so, is there are a cure?

Understanding the Difference between a Character Flaw and an Illness

It’s true that plenty of people start using drugs or alcohol voluntarily, which may be a character flaw. Some of these individuals then develop a dependence on their substance of choice. At this point, they no longer choose to continue to take the drug or drink. Instead, an uncontrollable craving compels them.

So, is addiction a disease with a self-infliction component? It’s interesting to note that even this question doesn’t have a clear answer. Researchers argue that those struggling with a substance abuse problem may have a genetic predisposition to addiction. Other contributing factors include upbringing and current socio-economic environment, which often fall outside a person’s control.

Is Addiction a Disease with a Cure?

There’s good news and bad news. Researchers, physicians, therapists, and scientists agree that addiction is indeed a disease. Unfortunately, there currently isn’t a “cure.” As a result, someone struggling with a substance abuse problem is highly likely to battle with it for a long time.

That said, this disease is treatable and it’s possible to go into remission with the right addiction therapy.

  • Caring environment. You wouldn’t dream of treating a heart disease or diabetes patient harshly. Someone fighting an addiction also needs a caring environment that expresses itself with a supportive staff presence.
  • Dual diagnosis treatment. Therapists understand that mental health conditions often factor into the development of a substance abuse problem. Although it’s sometimes unclear which came first, addiction or mental illness, there’s little doubt that the conditions aggravate one another. Overcoming substance abuse problems, therefore, requires attention to both illnesses.
  • Residential treatment option. The level of personalization that patients receive in an inpatient setting is difficult to replicate with other treatment models. It combines supervision with round-the-clock care and encouragement. For many, these factors are instrumental aspects of overcoming addiction.
  • Sober living support. After completing a residential drug treatment program, it’s time to move to a supported sober living environment. In this setting, individuals learn to apply the skills they garnered during therapy sessions. That said, there’s still a safety net that allows therapists to intervene as needed.
  • Aftercare support. There’s no shame in needing help even after living sober for a while at home. Because the therapy environment encourages peer group support formation, help is always only a call away.

Getting This Level of Help is Possible Right Now

You don’t have to go on living a life controlled by addiction. Instead, break free now by entrusting your disease to a caring treatment team. Call 1st Step Behavioral Health today at (866) 319-6126 to turn your life around!