Is Addiction a Disease and where can I find the Cure?

Addiction has been around since the first humans lived on the earth. Some cultures see addiction as a spiritual problem; other see Addiction as a Character Defect. So if it’s a disease, does this mean I’m crazy if I am addicted?

The reason for this idea that addiction is a disease can be useful, because a disease has a cause (maybe my genes?) and it might therefore have a treatment. Or if it can’t be cured then, maybe, I can get another pill to fix this problem. With the way modern science can find cures for all sorts of conditions, we can keep hoping that we may one day have a magic cure.

Another way of looking at the ‘problem’ of addiction is to say that Society is really the cause. Everyone acts like it’s cool to get high, to get wasted or to indulge in binge gambling and sex. It’s risqué; fashionable and I really stand out from the rest of the crowd. Famous singers and actors use illicit substances every day so it must be okay, right? it must be a cool thing, right?

Clubs and restaurants make money selling alcohol to under age kids and Society fails to stops them. Parents look the other way; club owners don’t think it’s really a problem, and the kids look cool to all their mates. If the police are tipped off about the problem, do they even catch anyone? So yes, we can say that we live in a society where using and abusing substances and alcohol have become really ‘normal’.

So why do some Mental Health professionals and Addiction Counsellors continue to insist that Addiction is a Disease? How does this idea help me, the addict? or my loved one?






2 Comments Add yours

  1. updownflight says:

    I do think addiction is a mental illness. That is what I learned in my Abnormal Psychology class too. It’s in the DSM-5. My psychiatrist has also always referred to it as a mental health condition, as did many therapists I’ve been to in the past.

    I do not think I have alcoholism, even though I did abuse it for some time enough to warrant detox in the hospital. For me, it was just self-medication of (usually) my bipolar manic phases. It did take me a while to kick the habit and adopt better coping skills, but I eventually did. I have been able to drink small amounts (1/2 drink per day) since without craving more. I know, however, that people with real alcoholism cannot. I’ve attended many AA meetings in the past and have heard so many stories of struggle that far exceeded any that I experienced.

    Alcohol was in my childhood home, and my parents allowed me to have small drinks even as a kid. When I was a teen it escalated. I didn’t always abuse it during my youth, but I knew how it made me feel. How it relaxed my psychomotor agitation and stress. Temporarily, of course. As an adult it became part of my life too much and I drank when I should have been diagnosed with bipolar and taking medications. I think substances like alcohol prevent the early diagnosis of many mental health disorders. It’s a shame.

    1. thank you for your comments birdflight. I agree with your view, and I think many people use substances to deal with difficult emotions. it’s much harder if you have a brain disease.

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