Understanding Addiction as a Disease – Not a Choice

It is understandably difficult for those who are not afflicted with substance dependency to grasp being unable to cease drinking or using past a certain point. It is likely incomprehensible to those who have never suffered legal repercussions as a result of alcoholism to image why on earth someone would continue drinking even after receiving a DUI. However, for the addict and the alcoholic, these insane behaviors are likely not too far from the norm. One of the biggest obstacles addicts and alcoholics face is the social stigma that has been surrounding the disease of addiction since even before substance dependency was viewed as a plausible issue. Those who do not thoroughly understand the scientific reasoning behind chemical dependency frequently view addiction as an excuse to continue engaging in harmful and destructive behaviors despite the pleas of those that love them. Those who do not understand the physical inability to cease excessive use of drugs and alcohol view addicts and alcoholics as selfish, self-centered, and immature. The truth of the matter is, addiction is far from a choice – addiction is a neurological disease and a spiritual malady that makes it essentially impossible for afflicted men and women to quit drinking and drugging without some serious outside assistance.

Some Still Believe Addiction To Be a Choice

There is still a large group of people – including some medical professionals – that believe addiction is a choice rather than a disease. These individuals believe that those who die as a direct result of their drug or alcohol abuse are simply reaping consequences of freely chosen actions. However, years and years of scientific research wholly disprove this view. The psychiatric world recognizes addiction as a disease of the brain, and extensive examination of the neurological pathways in addicts and alcoholics opposed to the pathways in the brains of non-afflicted individuals clearly shows this to be the case. The brain of the addict has a disrupted choice mechanism, making it literally physically impossible for addicts to put down drugs on their own when consequences become severe. In many cases health becomes seriously compromised and medical professionals sincerely insist that the addicted individual cease use in order to, in some cases, remain alive – but the addict will continue using, seemingly ignoring medical recommendation. Sometimes an alcoholic will receive a DUI, and to the shock of everyone receives another only several days later. Sometimes a mother will need to cease using illicit substance in order to keep her children, whom she clearly loves more so than anything, only to continue using and in turn losing her children, kicking and screaming, and getting even higher once they have been taken away to attempt coping with the pain. These actions may seem nothing short of insane – and that is because they are. The brain is diseased, and only an extended stay at an inpatient drug rehab followed by a comprehensive aftercare program can truly ensure plausible recovery.

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