In the past, addiction has been viewed as a moral shortcoming, a flaw or even a decision. In reality, no one can choose not to be an addict, and it isn’t a character deficiency in any way. Get a better understanding of the disease model of addiction, which helps explain that addiction is an illness.
Disease Model of Addiction Has a Genetic Component
There are many factors that can lead to the development of an addiction. By some scientific estimates, genetics are responsible for a big part. In fact, half of a person’s chance of becoming addicted to substances like drugs or alcohol could be hereditary.
This explains why some people get addicted to alcohol and others can drink socially and quit whenever they want. Or why some people try drugs and move on, but others succumb to a lifelong addiction.
Lifestyle Choices Don’t Make Addiction a Choice
In one sense, you can’t become addicted to something you never try. This argument is used for alcoholism as well as those who get addicted to drugs like cocaine or heroin. However, people with lung cancer often smoke. Obesity can often be caused by excessive sugar, fat or calorie consumption.
Nonetheless, no one would argue that lung cancer or diabetes is a choice. The disease model of addiction shows that lifestyle factors can and do often contribute to the development of disease, just like an alcohol or drug addiction.
Brain Chemistry Changes Due to Addiction
Addiction isn’t something you can switch on and off. No addict can decide to simply stop being addicted to drugs or alcohol. Addiction impacts brain chemistry through the central nervous system and the reward circuitry. This is a serious change that only therapy and medical treatment can reverse, adding another factor to support the disease model of addiction.
Environmental Factors Impact Addiction Rates
Environmental factors can include income, social upbringing, support system and level of education. All of these things can cause rates of addiction to rise. This is similar to many other diseases that are a result of environmental factors.
Addiction May Be a Chronic Condition
Relapse is not a flaw or the inability to commit to recovery. Addiction, just like asthma and diabetes, can be chronic. No one would argue that a patient who has a resurgence of cancer is to blame for the relapse. The same logic should apply to the millions of addicts who relapse on their way to eventual sober recovery.
The disease model of addiction is the only scientifically proven explanation for addiction. To recover from addiction, the first step is choosing the best detox. Call 866-294-5306 to learn more about Serenity House Detox & Recovery and how you can work toward lasting recovery.