Menu Close

Is Addiction a Disease?

a woman wonders is addiction a diseaseYou may be asking yourself is addiction a disease? Many people don’t realize that addiction is actually a very dangerous brain disease. It is classified this way because addiction affects the body’s ability to function, just like cancer and cardiovascular disease adversely affect the body.

The way addiction affects the mind and body is similar to how hunger affects it. Once a user is addicted to a substance, they crave the rush that comes with using the substance in the same way a person craves food when they are hungry. This cycle of craving and satisfaction is what causes users to keep using substances and become dependent on them.

People often wonder is addiction a disease because they don’t believe it is. Some believe that because the individual makes the initial choice to use a substance, addiction is controllable. However, this is incorrect. After continuing exposure, the person often loses the ability to make that choice because their mind and body have become dependent on the substance.

Is Addiction a Disease?

Substance addiction has an array of psychological, physical, and social consequences. The combination of these effects can significantly reduce quality of life and put the user into dangerous situations. To combat these effects, users need the support of a professional rehab facility and substance use treatment.

Psychological Effects. One of the dangers of substance use is the psychological dependency that users develop. Sometimes, users become dependent on drugs to relax or feel pleasure and may use them to combat other mental disorders. In addition to this dependency, substance use can also cause:

  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased pleasure in everyday activities
  • Memory loss
  • Unpredictable or risky behavior

Physical Effects

Some of the most dangerous effects of substance use are its physical effects. Substances cause a variety of negative long and short-term effects, some of which are impossible to recover from. That’s why you should seek treatment before addiction causes permanent damage. Addiction can cause physical effects such as:

  • Changes in sleep patterns, appetite, body temperature, and heart rate
  • Increased risk for contracting Hepatitis, HIV, and similar illnesses
  • Cardiovascular issues, such as heart disease
  • Kidney, liver, and brain damage
  • Respiratory problems like emphysema and lung cancer

Social Effects

In tandem with the psychological and physical effects, addiction can also cause a number of negative social side effects. At this point, addiction is severely affecting quality of life and treatment should be sought out immediately. The combination of physical and psychological effects can cause social effects including:

  • Abandoning activities that were once pleasurable
  • Decreased performance in work or school
  • Damaged relationships with family and friends
  • Inability to fulfill obligations (family, work, school, etc.)
  • Financial struggles
  • Involvement in criminal activity

Recovery from Addiction

Once you answer the question is addiction a disease, your next question is probably “how do you recover from the disease of addiction?” Like any disease, it is not an easy or short road. Recovery from addiction takes time and dedication but the reward is a fulfilling and healthy life of sobriety. There are many roads to successful treatment and Red Oak Recovery® offers many programs, such as:

Addiction does not have to control your life. Red Oak Recovery® has the resources available to help you along your unique journey to recovery. Contact us at 866-457-7590 to regain control of your life and discover what life is like beyond the disease of addiction.