Perspectives on addiction have been highly debated, as many argue whether addiction is inherently a disease or a choice. A preponderance of evidence, however, proves that addiction is something that develops into a disease rather than a series of unhealthy habits. If you have an addiction, you are likely thinking to yourself, “If it was a choice, I would have simply quit by now!” Addiction is much more difficult to quit because brain chemicals are changed from addiction. Let’s explore some of this further:
In 2015, a commentary published in The Lancet Psychiatry by the National Institute on Drug Addiction’s (NIDA) Director, Dr. Nora Volkow, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s (NIAAA) Director, Dr. George Koob, explored that critical brain structures and behaviors are disrupted when substance abuse is present. The commentary explained that, from research, we can conclude that substance abuse affects the brain by causing a person to lose control, engage in compulsive drug use, exhibit inflexible behavior, and experience negative emotional states associated with their addiction. If you have an addiction or know of someone who does, you’ve likely recognized these symptoms.
There are several factors that can make a person more susceptible to addiction, such as genetics, personality, and environmental factors. While these make a person vulnerable to developing an addiction later, a person ultimately has the choice to decide whether to begin or initially continue taking substances. However, once the person has taken addictive substances for certain periods, their brain becomes dependent on the chemicals. Substances often provide a surge of dopamine, which is responsible for pleasurable feelings. Excessive amounts of dopamine essentially teach the brain to crave this to feel “happy”. Over time, the brain relies on this surge, which causes the body to experience withdrawals.
A 2016 study titled, “Neurologic Advances from the Brain Disease Model of Addiction” emphasizes that the Disease Model of Addiction has afforded many researchers with new opportunities for advancement and prevention efforts in addiction and recovery as well as public healthy policy. If you can learn more about addiction, you may better be able to help yourself and those you love. Many treatment centers follow this model because it has been supported by much research in the past.
Recovery should be Simple. That is why Simple Recovery provides various methods of treatment to best suit your needs. Our multi-tiered program is designed to help you find success on a variety of levels – through home, work, school, volunteering, and in your personal recovery. To learn more about simplifying your life and focusing solely on your recovery, call us today at 888-743-0490.