While Addiction Is A Disease It Remains The Responsibility Of The Person Suffering From It To Seek Treatment And Maintain Recovery
Once recovery is obtained, the newly sober must continue a life-long journey to work on their sobriety. This may include attending Alcoholics Anonymous or other 12-step recovery meetings, individual therapies, and prescribed medications.
The disease of addiction is not curable, but it is possible to live a joyous life free of the grips of alcohol and drugs. It takes complete honesty and responsibility, coupled with a little bit of courage, strength, and hope.
Questions That This Paper Raises
Getting Treatment For Addiction Is A Choice
Everyone makes a choice about using drugs or taking a drink for the first time. You don’t have a choice about how your brain reacts, however. Willpower and shaming won’t undo the changes in the brain and cure addiction. There is no cure, but treatment helps you manage and successfully live with the disease.
Just as someone with diabetes or heart disease has to choose to exercise and change to a healthy diet to control their disease, someone with addiction has to choose treatment. A court order or family’s ultimatum may be behind that choice. But often, someone chooses on their own, wanting a life without addiction and the problems that come with it more than the drugs.
Scientists don’t know why some people can successfully quit using drugs on their own, and others can’t. For most people, recovery takes intervention with things like Indiana inpatient substance abuse treatment, behavioral therapy, and medications to help control cravings and encourage the brain to adapt to functioning without drugs.
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What Are Addictive Disorders
Addictive disorders, such as substance abuse and dependence, are common disorders that involve the overuse of alcohol and/or drugs. Addiction develops over time and is a chronic and relapsing illness.
There are three different terms used to define substance-related addictive disorders:
Substance abuseSubstance abuse, as a disorder, refers to the abuse of illegal substances or the abusive use of legal substances. It is an addictive disorder that describes a pattern of substance use leading to significant problems or distress, such as failure to attend school, substance use in dangerous situations , substance-related legal problems or continued substance use that interferes with friendships and/or family relationships. Alcohol is the most common legal drug to be abused.
Substance dependenceSubstance dependence is an addictive disorder that describes continued use of drugs or alcohol, even when significant problems related to their use have developed. Signs include an increased tolerancethat is, the need for increased amounts of the substance to attain the desired effect withdrawal symptoms with decreased use unsuccessful efforts to decrease use increased time spent in activities to obtain the substance withdrawal from social and recreational activities and continued use of the substance even with awareness of the physical or psychological problems encountered by the extent of substance use.
What Is Drug Addiction
Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted persons self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. These brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a “relapsing” diseasepeople in recovery from drug use disorders are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug.
It’s common for a person to relapse, but relapse doesn’t mean that treatment doesnt work. As with other chronic health conditions, treatment should be ongoing and should be adjusted based on how the patient responds. Treatment plans need to be reviewed often and modified to fit the patients changing needs.
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Find Hope And Help For Drug Addiction In Indiana
Addiction is treatable and it is never too early or too late to ask for help. There are Indiana opioid treatment programs, inpatient or outpatient alcohol rehab, and many other options throughout Indiana, like several IU Health locations, including Indianapolis, Bloomington, and Muncie.
How to find addiction help in Indiana
- Call 211 for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or connect with help online.
- Call the Indiana Addiction Hotline: or to live chat with a representative online.
- Locate addiction treatment resources, tools and support at Next Level Recovery.
- Learn more about Addiction Treatment services available at IU Health.
New Insights Into The Causes Of Addiction
Addiction involves craving for something intensely, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences. Addiction changes the brain, first by subverting the way it registers pleasure and then by corrupting other normal drives such as learning and motivation. Although breaking an addiction is tough, it can be done.
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The Disease Of Addiction
Addiction is defined as the ongoing use of mood-altering substances, such as alcohol and drugs, despite adverse consequences. It sounds like a choice rather than a disease to some. However, a person with substance addiction cant just make themselves stop using.
The disease of addiction changes how the brain is wired, creating dysfunction in the brains pleasure pathway. Overcoming this dysfunction requires formal treatment and clinical interventions, such as therapy and counseling. In some instances, it can require medical detox and drug therapy. Depending on the persons needs, a clinical professional may recommend receiving care at an inpatient or residential rehab facility or treatment at an outpatient rehab clinic.
The definition of disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects all or part of an organisms structure or function.
Substance addiction is proven to disrupt the neurological pathways of pleasure within the brain. This disruption prevents dopamine from flowing through the brain at a regular frequency. Reduced dopamine levels lead to feelings of fatigue, mood changes, and even loss of balance.
The disrupted neurological pathways are the abnormal condition, and the brain is the part affected. So, going back to the dictionarys definition, addiction is a disease.
How Is Substance Use Disorder Treated
Effective treatments for substance use disorders are available.
The first step is recognition of the problem. The recovery process can be delayed when a person lacks awareness of problematic substance use. Although interventions by concerned friends and family often prompt treatment, self-referrals are always welcome and encouraged.
A medical professional should conduct a formal assessment of symptoms to identify if a substance use disorder is present. All patients can benefit from treatment, regardless of whether the disorder is mild, moderate, or severe. Unfortunately, many people who meet criteria for a substance use disorder and could benefit from treatment dont receive help.
Because SUDs affect many aspects of a persons life, multiple types of treatment are often required. For most, a combination of medication and individual or group therapy is most effective. Treatment approaches that address an individuals specific situation and any co-occurring medical, psychiatric, and social problems is optimal for leading to sustained recovery.
Medications are used to control drug cravings, relieve symptoms of withdrawal, and to prevent relapses. Psychotherapy can help individuals with SUD better understand their behavior and motivations, develop higher self-esteem, cope with stress, and address other psychiatric problems.
A person’s recovery plan is unique to the person’s specific needs and may include strategies outside of formal treatment. These may include:
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Is Addiction A Brain Disease
- By Michael Bierer, MD, Contributor
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
There are many good reasons to emphasize the biological underpinnings of substance use disorders. Perhaps most important, the biologic basis of this chronic disease is a strong argument for parity: that is, treating addiction on par with other biologic diseases.
The stigma and shame of addiction has much to do with the perception that people with substance use disorders are weak, immoral, or simply out for a good time at societys expense. Understanding that addiction impairs the brain in many important ways may reduce such stigma. Whats more, the specific type of brain dysfunction may help identify a range of effective interventions and preventions. For example, during adolescence, the brain is at its most plastic and vulnerable. This is a time when caution and intervention may prove most valuable. The earlier the drug exposure or trauma to the brain, the greater the damage.
It would take many blog posts to summarize in detail what goes on in the article , so Ill hit the points that are most meaningful to me as a practitioner and citizen and forgive me if I get a little personal.
What Is The Outlook For People Who Live With Addiction
With treatment, many people manage addiction and live full, healthy lives. But recovering from substance use disorders is not easy. It takes self-discipline and a strong commitment on a daily basis. Supportive friends, family members and healthcare providers play an essential role in effective treatment as well.
Without treatment, addiction can cause serious health problems, even death. It can damage personal relationships, lead to financial difficulties and cause legal problems. Untreated addiction also harms family members, and the effects can last for generations.
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The Other Side Of The Addiction Concept
Putting a theme on the agenda is not the same as successfully resolving the problem. The addiction concept can be used for other purposes than simple awareness raising. For instance, patients may use the addiction concept to distance their own use of a substance from others use, and therefore in fact make light of their use.
What Does It Mean That Addiction Is A Brain Disease
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Addiction begins with the voluntary decision to use drugs. No one starts out hoping to become an addict, but as one uses a drug repeatedly over time, control over its use decreases dramatically. The individual who is initially a voluntary user can become a compulsive drug user, an addict.
An ever-increasing body of scientific evidence suggests that the transition from voluntary user to addict occurs through a combination of processes, including a series of brain changes or neuroadaptations that result from repeated drug exposure. Because changes in brain structure and function are fundamental to the development and expression of addiction, it qualifies as a brain disease–a brain disease expressed as compulsive behavior. It’s the quintessential biobehavioral disorder.
This concept has generated substantial controversy, and the conversation is still polarized in some circles. Unfortunately, this polarized thinking can characterize virtually all aspects of the drug issue. Discussions frequently devolve into arguments pitting drug supply control strategies against demand control strategies–interdiction versus prevention and treatment. Some people have reverted to the old argument that we should simply incarcerate addicted criminal offenders, whereas others say we only need to treat them. The true answer, of course, is much more complicated and requires that we do “all of the above.”
The best treatments for addiction
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Is Addiction Really A Disease
Is addiction really a disease or a matter of choice? Ask the mother who lost her 19-year-old son the laughing family prankster who earned a full-ride college scholarship as a solid student and star second baseman to drugs.
The moody, angry dropout who survived overdoses to get caught breaking into cars wasn’t the boy she raised. What she knew, like the families and friends of the more than 15,000 Hoosiers who’ve died due to overdose since 1999, is that addiction’s not a life anyone would choose.
Most medical professionals agree. The American Medical Association classified alcoholism as a disease in 1956 and included addiction as a disease in 1987.
In 2011 the American Society of Addiction Medicine joined the AMA, defining addiction as a chronic brain disorder, not a behavior problem, or just the result of making bad choices.
Research and input from top addiction authorities, addiction medicine doctors, neuroscientists and experts from the National Institute on Drug Abuse agree in classifying addiction as a disease. Like other chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, experts are still learning about how and why the disease develops. This blog post will help you understand addiction and how IU Health addiction treatment can help those struggling.
How Addiction Impacts The Brain
Addictions effects on the brain provide some of the strongest evidence for a disease model. Dopamine is a chemical that travels amongst nerves in the brain.
It creates feelings of relief and pleasure. When you eat a tasty meal or do something fun, dopamine is traveling through your brain. It encourages you to do that activity again and again.
Drugs cause dopamine to surge through the brain. The first time a person uses drugs, the dopamine rush is enormous. This encourages them to use them again.
As time goes on, the rushes become smaller and smaller. The dopamine receptors in the brain begin to change. They stop working for other pleasurable activities, encouraging the individual to use more drugs.
People do not choose to alter their brains in such a manner. It is irrational to regard addiction as a mere character fault.
Brain alterations require advanced treatment. Some people can go cold turkey and abandon drugs. But most people cannot, so they require a different approach to come free from drugs.
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New Insights Into A Common Problem
Nobody starts out intending to develop an addiction, but many people get caught in its snare. Consider the latest government statistics:
- Nearly 23 million Americansalmost one in 10are addicted to alcohol or other drugs.
- More than two-thirds of people with addiction abuse alcohol.
- The top three drugs causing addiction are marijuana, opioid pain relievers, and cocaine.
In the 1930s, when researchers first began to investigate what caused addictive behavior, they believed that people who developed addictions were somehow morally flawed or lacking in willpower. Overcoming addiction, they thought, involved punishing miscreants or, alternately, encouraging them to muster the will to break a habit.
The scientific consensus has changed since then. Today we recognize addiction as a chronic disease that changes both brain structure and function. Just as cardiovascular disease damages the heart and diabetes impairs the pancreas, addiction hijacks the brain. This happens as the brain goes through a series of changes, beginning with recognition of pleasure and ending with a drive toward compulsive behavior.
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What Is The Disease Model Of Addiction
Somewhere along the way, youve probably heard someone mention the disease model of addiction. But what does that even mean?
The disease model of addiction is currently the most widely accepted school of thought when it comes to how we understand addiction. More importantly, the disease model informs how we approach recovery and treatment. So to make sure youre up to speed, lets have a discussion about the disease model of addiction. In particular
What is it?
Why does it offer the best explanation for addiction?
And how has the disease model informed addiction treatment?
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How Is Drug Abuse Or Dependence Diagnosed
A family doctor, psychiatrist, or qualified mental health professional usually diagnoses substance abuse. Clinical findings often depend on the substance abused, the frequency of use, and the length of time since last used, and may include:
Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
A variety of treatment programs for substance abuse are available on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Programs considered are usually based on the type of substance abused. Detoxification and long-term follow-up management or recovery-oriented systems of care are important features of successful treatment. Long-term follow-up management usually includes formalized group meetings and psychosocial support systems, as well as continued medical supervision. Individual and family psychotherapy are often recommended to address the issues that may have contributed to and resulted from the development of a substance abuse disorder.
What Are The Four Types Of Addiction
The list of types of Addiction mentioned in various sources includes: Alcoholism. Gambling addiction. Drug addiction. Nicotine addiction. Exercise addiction.
What are the causes and effects of addiction?
Understanding the Causes and Effects of Drug Addiction and How Treatment Can Help Biological Factors. Biological factors are widely recognized as significant contributors to the development of addiction and nature of these biological underpinnings varies widely. Psychological Factors. Environmental and Experiential Factors. The Effects of Drug Addiction. The Need for Holistic Treatment.
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Can Addictions Be Treated
Treatments for addiction can help. Your healthcare provider may recommend a combination of treatment options. They include:
- Detoxification : For severe addiction, a process called detox can help alleviate and treat withdrawal symptoms. During detox, your provider cares for you while drugs or alcohol leave your system. Your provider may give you medications and other therapies to ease withdrawal symptoms.
- Medications: Your provider may give you medications to reduce urges, cravings and ongoing withdrawal symptoms. If you have another mental health disorder , your provider may treat those with medications as well.
- Rehabilitation : Providers offer structured counseling, education, support and encouragement during rehab. You may live at a rehab facility or visit one for scheduled sessions . Rehab services focus on helping you manage addiction long term and live a healthier life.
- Therapy: Several types of therapy help people with addiction gain new perspectives and change their behavior. Your provider may recommend types of cognitive behavioral therapy or biofeedback therapy. You may also improve with psychotherapy .
- Support groups: Many people manage addiction with the help of a support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Groups like Al-Anon support family members and friends of people with substance use disorders. These groups offer people the opportunity to share experiences and find ongoing encouragement.