Imaging-based biomarkers hold the promise of allowing this complexity to be deconstructed into specific functional domains, as proposed by the RDoC initiative [54] and its application to addiction [55, 56]. This can ultimately guide the development of personalized medicine strategies to addiction treatment. Considering this cycle, it’s not a surprise that an individual who might be using drugs or alcohol recreationally becomes addicted once this shift in the brain occurs. No longer is the substance used for fun, but it becomes something that the body begins to crave.

Additionally, addiction medications help patients regain their physical and mental wellness so they can benefit from psychotherapy and counseling as much as possible. There is much debate in the recovery community whether long-term use of these medications is ‘truly living drug-free’. Ideally, these medications are used short-term, but each person’s experience with the disease of addiction varies. In this article, I have focussed on the concept of addiction in order to highlight and overcome some confusion and controversy regarding the addiction-debate. At the start, I attempted to provide a neutral definition of addiction that steers clear of normative conclusions and assumptions, which could be accepted by a majority of addiction researchers. Such a definition is recommended in order to research addiction from unbiased premises.

Addiction relapses are a reality, but not failure

The American Psychiatric Organization has changed its rules to describe problems regarding chronic substance use. Instead, it uses “substance use disorder” to avoid confusion around the word “addiction” and its negative stigma. This situation is why so many drug addicts find it difficult to stop. If left untreated, the person’s body, relationships, and even life could be in danger. The FHE Health team is committed to providing accurate information that adheres to the highest standards of writing. If one of our articles is marked with a ‘reviewed for accuracy and expertise’ badge, it indicates that one or more members of our team of doctors and clinicians have reviewed the article further to ensure accuracy.

Is addiction the same as a disorder?

What is addiction? While the term “addiction” does not appear in the DSM, it is generally regarded as a severe substance use disorder. Addiction is the most severe form of a full spectrum of substance use disorders. It is a medical illness caused by repeated misuse of a substance or substances.

If one knows that by using substances they will lose their job, then the only reasonable explanation of why they still keep using is that they must somehow be compelled to do so. However, such an argument makes the crucial assumption that self-destructive behaviour is by definition involuntary. This is something Heyman contests by arguing that many types of behaviour are self-destructive yet deliberately, at least voluntarily, pursued [2]. Similarly, Hanna Pickard argues against addictive behaviour as a compulsion [46]. She outlines that neuroscientific evidence merely explains why addictive substances may be difficult to resist, especially compared to other urges, but not why they are impossible to resist. In addition, she also refers to the possibility addicts have to avoid cues or drug-related stimuli.

Why Is Addiction a Disease?

However, the amount of time dedicated to each outpatient treatment program will vary. For example, you may have a child to take care of at home and are unable to find a babysitter. In other cases, you may be a student who takes classes multiple times a week. No matter the situation, outpatient treatment creates a schedule that works for the recovering individual.

She has been educated in both psychology and journalism, and her dual education has given her the research and writing skills needed to deliver sound and engaging content in the health space. If you are battling an addiction and are experiencing an overdose or medical crisis, contact 911 for emergency medical assistance. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Top 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing Sober House has resources available on its website to help locate treatment centers in a person’s area. But the drug research establishment insists most addicts are enslaved, that they don’t have free will. In fact, some studies suggest most addicts who recover do so without professional help. In fact, some researchers cite experiments that they say prove that addiction is a matter of choice.

I want to get healthier

The neuroscientists and their allies have mistaken some necessary conditions of the disorder with the disorder itself1. Notwithstanding this claim, there is, nevertheless, a strong case for saying that addiction is often a disease. Restoring addicts to their social contexts does not require us to accept the view of addiction to which the neuroscientists oppose themselves, the moral model.

is addiction a disease debate

Genetic research into drug addicts have also found abnormalities on certain receptor genes for serotonin and dopamine. Doctors think these genetic markers may make certain people more vulnerable to addiction than others. Over the last 25 years several medications have received F.D.A. approval to treat addictions.

Related Posts About Addiction

The reason for this comes from three key points regarding how addiction affects an addict. The third point of note is that a person’s risk of addiction rises based on hereditary factors. If addiction were purely a choice, these three points would not exist altogether. IU Health provides full-service drug and alcohol treatment designed for the individual. Options include withdrawal and detox, ongoing treatments such as medications and therapy, and intensive outpatient programs.

Resolving this issue remains challenging in addiction, but once again, this is not different from other areas of medicine [see e.g., [12] for type 2 diabetes]. Longitudinal studies that track patient trajectories over time may have a better ability to identify subpopulations than cross-sectional assessments [13]. Relapses are incredibly common for people with addictions, but a relapse should not be seen as a moral failure or defeat.