Is Addiction A Disease or a Choice?

Any of us who have been through active addiction, either as addicts or as a loved one of addicts, have heard the stereotypes. “Oh, Johnny chose drugs over his family.” “Sheila is such a jerk. She stole all that money. Hey, did you see her choosing to get in that car with that guy for money?” Choice is the recurring motif in these scenarios.

The truth of the matter is: addiction is multifaceted. Addictive disorders consist of both genetic and environmental interplay. One’s actual family ties, according to adoption and twin studies, affect your genetic risk of becoming an addict due to specifics behind genetic relationships with an addicted relative. Some environmental factors that play into whether alcohol and drug use turn into substance use disorders include your morals and values, social policy, religion, fiscal ranking, and if there is narco-trafficking going on around you. Those we surround ourselves with, as well as the places we choose to go, will also play a part. Lifestyle and our own personal choices help us to decide whether we are going to pick up a drug or drink in the first place and influence continued use.

Some Beliefs That Confound Choice Versus Disease

Is Addiction A Disease or a Choice?One common myth that is, “Addiction is a disease. Therefore, there is nothing that can be done to help you to not catch it or to recover from it”. However, most experts are in a consensus that addiction occurs due to alterations in one’s brain during their substance use. This does not mean that someone in active addiction cannot let go of their victimhood via means of treatment, such as medication, therapy, and exercise. While this does require hard work from the individual following a treatment plan created with a professional, alterations to the brain which occurred during active addiction can be changed back.

Another belief often shared is, “Willpower is the only thing needed to fight addiction.” Amazingly enough, willpower is not all that it takes. Due to changes to the brain when a person uses alcohol or drugs, the brain begins to send intense signals leading to cravings and compulsions to continue using. Often, professional help is needed for a person to reverse these changes and learn relapse prevention skills and techniques. Recovery does not happen at the same time for everyone. The process can occur at any time throughout the addiction process. Often, individuals find it easier to follow a sober lifestyle when they seek help or treatment earlier on. By doing so, there is less of a chance of continued changes to your brain. The longer that you reside in active addiction, the more costs your behaviors tend to incur. In turn, this leads to needing to work more in therapy or 12-step programs regarding guilt, shame, and remorse.

Get Help to Stopping Drinking and Using

Our 24 bed, 30-day recovery program at Discovery Place can help you gain your freedom from alcohol, cannabis, opiates, and other addictive substances. Our main campus in Burns, Tennessee is located upon 17 scenic acres of farmland to give you the peace you need from the bustle of every-day life. We also offer 60-day and 90-day long-term programs. Give us a call today at 1-800-725-0922.

Share post :