Scientists have long referred to addiction as a disease. Scientists know that addiction is a disease because real physical changes occur in an individual’s brain chemistry that causes addiction. Once these changes happen, it is extremely difficult for a patient to heal themselves. Just as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease require medical treatment, so does addiction. Read on to learn more about addiction and how a residential treatment program like Ethan Crossing Recovery can help.
How Is Addiction a Disease?
Nobody ever decides to become physically dependent upon a drug. Nobody ever wakes up and decides to become addicted. Addiction begins when someone who has risk factors begins using a drug. Risk factors for addiction include:
- Growing up around drug users or alcoholics
- Living in an environment with others who use drugs or alcohol
- Using drugs or alcohol at an early age
- Hanging out with friends who use drugs or alcohol
- How a person consumes a drug
No one risk factor guarantees that someone will develop a substance use disorder. If you have one or more of these risk factors, you are more likely to develop an addiction. For example, a person who grew up around drugs has risk factors for addiction. It is important to make sure that individuals are aware of these risk factors so that they can be cautious of them and live a life free of addiction.
Understanding the Disease Model of Addiction
The disease model of addiction places the most emphasis on the brain when explaining addiction. It is important to understand that a drug alters the brain chemistry of the substance user. For many years, stigmas that blamed the person instead of the disease were popular. Today, we know that this is not true. Thanks to the disease model of addiction, stigmas are disappearing, and more and more people are seeking treatment.
Can You Treat Addiction?
It is also important to note that drug addiction is a disease that must be treated by a physician at a drug addiction treatment program. To begin the journey of addiction recovery, the patient must first detox at a drug detox center from the drug. If this takes place without proper medical supervision, the individual can experience symptoms that are quite dangerous. For example, an alcohol detox program can cause seizures, tremors, and even death. Additionally, detoxing from opioids all at once can cause irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and heart failure. It is extremely dangerous to attempt detox without the help of a doctor or hospital standing by. Once the patient has completed detox, the cravings may remain for weeks. Behavioral counseling, peer support, and replacement medications help treat the persistent cravings associated with addiction. It is nearly impossible to stave them off without intervention.
How Ethan Crossing Can Help
Addiction is a disease that causes changes in brain chemistry. Once addiction happens, it never fully goes away. Addiction treatment therapies do not outright cure addiction but instead pushes it into dormancy and remission. There is always a chance that it may resurface in the future, even after you think it is gone. In this way, addiction is similar to breast cancer or high blood pressure. At Ethan Crossing Recovery, we view addiction as a disease with a high rate of remission. Through evidence-based treatments that are administered by our highly trained staff, patients can break free of the chains of addiction. We will be there with you from detox through transitional living. We will coach you, support you, and give you what you need to avoid relapse. When you are ready to treat the disease of addiction, call Ethan Crossing Recovery at 833.691.0736. Together, we will find a workable cure for addiction and help you live a healthy life without drugs.