Is Addiction a Disease? Here’s What Our Visitors Had to Say
Authored by Audra Franchini
It’s one of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to addiction:
Is addiction a disease?
There are two answers to this question. The one answer is opinion. The other answer is fact.
Opinions aside, the America Society of Addiction Medicine provides this definition of addiction:
“Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.
Prevention efforts and treatment approaches for addiction are generally as successful as those for other chronic diseases.”
In September, we ran a poll on our Twitter to see if our visitors thought addiction was a disease. Over 750 people voted – check out the results below: 56% Yes, addiction is an epidemic 39% No, it’s a choice 5% Other
Good news is, given the above responses, a majority of responders (56%) believe that addiction is not a choice. Here’s a snapshot of responses from those who clicked other:
- “Saying something isn’t a disease because they chose it is like telling my cousin her skin cancer isn’t a disease because she chose not to wear sunscreen.”
- “Underlying reason. Physiology and psychological.”
- “I think it depends on each person. Some people start drinking or doing drugs to self medicate to deal with trauma. Some people start to fit in, get attention, or something else. Sometimes it’s a choice. Sometimes it’s something more.”
- “I think it depends on the drug!!! If you were prescribed by a doctor and got dependent that’s different than a little recreational turned addict!!!!”
Regardless of what you may believe, we should all agree to this: Whether it’s a choice or a disease, every human being deserves the chance to get well again. When someone is willing to accept the help that’s been extended to them, the “how” behind their addiction shouldn’t matter. In that moment, at the time, there’s only one thing that matters: Saving that person’s life.