Addiction has far-reaching consequences. It affects your health, relationships, career, ability to work, and so much more. But is addiction a disease? More specifically, is it a sum total of bad personal choices?
It Might Start with a Bad Decision
Taking that first drink or hit of a drug is a personal choice. But nobody wakes up in the morning motivated to develop an addiction. Rather, the chemicals in the drug, combined with the possibility of predisposition, lead to dependence. While someone decides to take the first taste, they’re often unable to stop once an addiction takes hold.
Why Is Addiction a Disease?
Medical experts refer to this understanding as the disease model of addiction. It stipulates that drug dependence falls into the same category as diabetes. For starters, it’s a chronic illness. Secondly, it combines personal behaviors with biological makeup and environmental factors.
The chemicals in the drugs affect your cognitive functioning. Typically, they act on the part of the brain that releases neurotransmitters. Eventually, the neurotransmitter release needs the presence of the drug to occur. Failure to provide the drug results in adverse psychological and physical responses.
Unfortunately, if you do nothing, the condition worsens. Drug use gradually erodes physical health. The continual influx of the chemicals also takes a psychological toll. Overall, addiction is a disease that will disable the sufferer and has the power to permanently end lives.
How to Overcome an Addiction
Because drug dependence is a medical condition, professional intervention is necessary. However, you don’t treat this condition with a quick fix. Depending on the severity of the disease, there are different approaches which include:
- Inpatient or outpatient detoxification breaks the physical dependence on a drug
- Rehab allows you to live with maximum access to therapists while overcoming a psychological dependence
- Dual diagnosis treatment helps individuals with a co-occurring mental health problem and addiction
- Evidence-based psychotherapy includes cognitive behavioral therapy for changing patterns in your
thoughts and actions and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to resolve trauma.
- Holistic treatment takes a whole-person approach to healing through Reiki, Yoga, and acupuncture
Because this is rehab in Hawaii, you have the unique opportunity to add dolphin and equine therapy to the list. Animal therapy is perfect for individuals who have a difficult time connecting with people. The non-judgmental interactions with animals can help someone break out of self-imposed isolation. In the process, the person re-establishes a sense of community and empathy, which is crucial to lasting recovery.
Do You Need Help Overcoming Addiction?
If we’ve answered, “Is addiction a disease?”, don’t be afraid to admit you’re suffering. If you want to quit but realize you can’t do it alone, there’s plenty of help. The friendly therapists at Hawaii Island Recovery assist you every step of the way.