Is Addiction A Disease?

Drug Addiction Is Not A Disease

Is alcohol and drug addiction a disease?

On one hand there is a group of researchers who claim that addiction is an incurable brain disease that is chronic and relapsing in nature. However, there are just as many arguments, if not more, that can disprove such a statement routinely. For example, there are rehabilitation programs that are designed around an educational, or cognitive, structure that have seen success merely by providing information to addicts that help them make better decisions in life to remain drug-free. There are also religious-based programs that achieve some success by restoring and strengthening that faith and spirituality of the individual.

Additionally, there are drug rehab programs that do not subscribe to the disease theory of addiction at all, and instead use a more holistic approach that addresses the necessary components effectively and increases personal responsibility and control.

Empirical information shows that treatment facilities who do promote the brain disease theory also typically prescribe more drugs to addicts to try and treat the symptoms. These drugs usually have many adverse effects, including a newly formed dependency, and therefore cause relapse, which proves in their mind that it is a relapsing condition. Ironically, these types of programs see nothing wrong with getting addicts hooked on new drugs or creating zombies out of them with heavy psychotropic drugs. Neither of those situations fit the definition of rehabilitation, but instead precipitates further treatments.

An informative new documentary film called "Curing Addiction" covers many of the reasons why it is not only possible to permanently recover from substance abuse, but that it is a fact occurring in the lives of many each day.

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What Does 'In Recovery' Mean?

Many Are Finding Rehab Success

The phrase "in recovery" typically means someone who was once an addict but has now been sober for a period of time. More traditional programs feel that addiction is a life-long illness with many relapses, so they often preach that people are in recovery instead of being recovered. It is not uncommon to go to a 12-step meeting and find people that are still saying they are in recovery and taking things one day at a time, even though they have been clean and sober for more than a decade. For many former addicts in that scenario the meetings and support groups are more of a fellowship than a vital necessity to staying drug or alcohol-free.

New-age holistic programs that are more solution-oriented often don't believe in the disease theory of addiction and therefore don't say that people remain in recovery, but instead are either cured or recovered, having put addiction behind them for good.

Regardless of whatever method used, people who are able to remain sober should be supported and applauded for their continuing success.