Watching a loved one in the clutches of addiction can be confusing and scary. The person you once knew is no longer there, and now you’re left to deal with someone completely different. It’s common for loved ones to look at the person with an addiction and think he or she is acting selfish. While this is true, it also begs a bigger question: is addiction a disease?

Is Addiction a Disease?

Is Addiction a Disease?For ages, society didn’t believe that addiction was a disease, instead believing that affected individuals made a conscious choice. Loved ones, psychiatrists, doctors and even renowned medical professionals couldn’t understand why people kept returning to alcohol or drugs. Eventually, the medical community decided to research the issue because it was becoming an epidemic.

Over the years, experts analyzed countless brain scans. Their research indicates that individuals struggling with addiction have abnormal prefrontal cortexes. Some of the prefrontal cortex’s responsibilities include:

  • Moderation of dopamine flow
  • Logical decision making
  • Impulse control
  • Empathy
  • Self-awareness

Today, government-funded organizations like the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) have joined in the fight. These organizations promote awareness and provide scientific proof regarding addiction as a disease.

Is Addiction a Disease: Why Your Loved One is Sick

When doctors diagnose individuals with illnesses like cancer, heart disease or diabetes, friends and family typically respond with empathy. They react much differently to addiction because the disease changes a person’s behaviors. The brain tells individuals that they need to drink or use in order to feel well. Those with an addiction may lie, cheat and steal to feed his or her addiction.

Although it can be difficult at times, remember that your loved one is dealing with a very severe illness. Many individuals struggling with addiction see what they’re doing, but can’t stop doing it. For affected individuals, there are many days where they don’t want to drink or use, but they have to. The good news is that they can experience addiction recovery, but it takes a courageous first step.

Choose First Step Detox and Begin Recovering

The first step toward getting sober is going through a medically monitored alcohol or drug detox, and First Step Detox is here to help. Located in West Palm Beach, Florida, we provide clients with high-quality detox programs in a safe environment where they can begin to recover from this potentially fatal illness. Your loved one may have concerns about harsh withdrawal symptoms, but we can help. We use the latest therapeutic and medicinal techniques to minimize discomfort as much as possible.

Because each substance causes a variety of symptoms, our facility offers a variety of specialized programs, including detox for the following substances:

Detox is the first step toward the healing process. Take action and call First Step today at 877-389-1135.