Is addiction a disease? Despite the American Medical Association’s classification, the stigma behind addiction stands severe and firm. There are people out there, right now, with their hands on their hips, wearing a discontented face as they grunt in disbelief at the idea that addiction could be a disease, and not some sort of terrible choice or “moral failing”. Contrary to what these people would rather perceive to be true, addiction is an illness powerful enough to surpass even the utmost preventative measures. This makes it such an honest horror of a reality because it’s already a cure-less disease. For addiction to be additionally grueling enough in strength so great that it can override any measures to derail its growth, development, and life altogether is overwhelmingly incomprehensible. If prevention can only do so much, then this brings up the question that doctors, treatment centers, therapists, parents, and society at large have been greatly distraught over: what is there left to do?
Is Addiction A Disease Where Prevention Always Fails?
Guitarist Dave Navarro of rock band Jane’s Addiction, explicated his stance on the disease of addiction, indicating that his knowledge derived from his own personal experience, “The sad truth is that when I picked up a syringe and shot heroin for my first time, I knew goddamn well all the possible consequences attached to that. I was informed, believe me. I had friends who had died, heroes of mine who had died, and I did it anyway.” He has an interesting point here – some, if not many individuals are indeed fully aware of the perils of abusing drugs and tend to abuse them, regardless. Navarro defines addiction succinctly: knowing consequences, and yet at the same time, not having any power to stop acting out on the addiction, in spite of that knowledge.
Preventative measures like providing background information on possible consequences of abusing drugs doesn’t, by any means, guarantee that a person won’t make that first attempt to experiment with drugs, or that they will naturally be immune to addiction just because they have knowledge of the disease. “The threat of a consequence is never going to be a deterrent for an addict. It’s just not gonna happen,” said the musician as he went on to describe the insane phenomenon of the illness. “We already know going into this that we could die, we know that our family and loved ones are going to have a problem with it, and we might lose a lot of them. We know we’re going to harm our relationships, we know our health is going to deteriorate if we don’t die, we know we could go to jail, yet we all do it… so those threats do not have an impact.”
If the magnitude of these outcomes has no real impact on an addict’s ability to put down the drug, then what other preventative measures are left, and can they combat the loud voice addiction may hold? Marissa Hebble is a coordinator at Opiate Education and Awareness Task Force who concurred that, “If information was enough, we wouldn’t have drug addiction.” She attributes other methods that deviate the route of addiction to, “access, availability, attitude, and screening kids for substance abuse.” All in all, it seems as though major changes are going to have to occur through much trial and error. Unfortunately, it should be clarified that sometimes these efforts are just not enough, and that some people are inclined to experiment with drugs, whether it is due to genetics, brain chemistry, spontaneity, rebellion, curiosity, or whatever it may be. This can and does, in many cases, result in the beast of addiction being awakened and released, leading to overdoses commonly resulting in death, and suicide rates that are at a skyrocketing all-time high. It needs to be made clear that a lack of being able to avoid addiction is not, by any means, the fault of the family, nor does it mean that the addict who is struggling is a bad person. Better yet, it simply means they are suffering because, is addiction a disease? Absolutely.
Is Addiction A Disease That Can Be Treated?
Although addiction may not always be preventable or cured, it certainly can be treated. There are over 22 million Americans in long-term recovery from drugs and alcohol. If it is possible for them, it is possible for anyone, provided they are willing to take the steps to recover fully. For more information on how you, or a loved one, can recover from drug abuse and alcoholism, contact The Watershed now. We can help you achieve sobriety.Tags: Addiction, Disease, disease of addiction, drug prevention, Prevention