Many people believe that those who suffer from addiction lack the willpower to change. They often answer the question, “Is addiction a disease?” by telling someone that it’s a choice. However, recent research proves otherwise.
Is Addiction a Disease?
Addiction is the continuous use of drugs or alcohol despite negative consequences or the desire to stop. Although the initial decision to take drugs is usually voluntary, decisions as a result of chemical changes in the brain after using the drugs are not. These changes “rewire” the brain so that it continues to crave the drug. This craving is what people often refer to when they think of addiction.
Why Doesn’t Everyone Who Tries Drugs Develop an Addiction?
The answer isn’t clear, even for researchers. Some scientists argue that some people are born with brains that are hard-wired for addiction (the “Loaded Gun Theory”). Professionals often liken these individuals to a loaded gun: biology loads the bullets, but environment pulls the trigger. If these people never use drugs, addiction never takes hold and the person in question is none the wiser. However, an addiction can take over their lives with as little as one drug use.
Are There Other Risk Factors For Addiction?
Although mental health professionals vary in their definition of risk factors, there are a few that they agree on. These include:
- Family History – There’s no doubt that environment and genetics play some role in addiction. If a close family member suffers from addiction, you’re likely at a higher risk to develop the disease as well.
- Previous Drug Use – Not all who suffer from addiction get “hooked” during their first, second or even third use. If you have used drugs in the past, your chances of forming an addiction are still high.
- Other Mental Disorders – If you’re already suffering from a disease like depression or anxiety, using drugs may quiet your symptoms for a short while. That said, this relief often leads people to use again instead of seeking appropriate care.
At Soledad House, we understand your struggle. Many of our counselors have experienced life-changing recovery and can help you do the same. Our women’s only facility is located just two minutes from the beach in La Jolla, California and offers a relaxing place to start your new life. Our women’s addiction programs include:
Is addiction a disease that’s running your life? Addiction treatment is closer than you think. Call Soledad House today at 866.314.3222 to discuss your options and get back on the road to a healthy life.