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The life you lead is full of choices and consequences. If you choose to speed while driving, you risk getting a hefty ticket. If you choose to skip going to work, you risk losing your job. If you choose to rob a bank, you risk incarceration. While all of these examples may seem like obvious bad decisions, people commit them every day and face hard penalties. If you abuse drugs and alcohol, you risk becoming addicted.

When it comes to excessive, chronic drug and alcohol use, many debate whether addiction is a choice or a disease.

Is Addiction a Disease or Choice Debate

Is substance use a choice? Is the decision to become addicted to a specific substance something an individual chose to begin, or is there a deeper, instigating factor?

The shame and stigma associated with addiction is well documented. Struggling with addiction can be perceived as a weakness and the culmination of poor life choices. But the question still remains: is addiction a choice or a disease?

Is Being Addicted to Drugs a Disease or a Choice?

Here are two points of perspective about addiction and why it affects some individuals so deeply:

Substance Use Disorders are Defined in the DSM

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the authoritative guide used by all mental health clinicians in the United States. Its purpose is to classify and diagnose all types of mental health disorders and give clinicians a singular source to turn to throughout the diagnostic process.

Published by the American Psychiatric Association, it serves as a clinical manual that helps experts offer standard criteria and common language when dealing with mental health symptomatology.

The fact that every type of identified substance use disorder is in this book is a great indicator of where addiction and disease intersect.

Whether discussing schizophrenia, posttraumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder or substance use disorder, they are all deeply rooted mental health disorders and deserve of the title disease.

Recent Studies Have Equated Addiction to Genetically Inherited Disorders

Studies published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information and Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics focused their research on inherited addictive traits, including familial addiction and systemic additive behavioral patterns.

While they attributed some of the identified behaviors of their participants to environmental factors,
they found a strong correlation connecting substance addiction and genetic factors. Their findings associated addiction with other complex diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancer and coronary heart disease.

The primary points ascertained from articles of this nature are the genetic predispositions associated with addiction. It’s a fact substance use disorders are genetically similar to other physical health

Approaching the topic of addiction from this perspective enables society to dismiss potential prejudice and address the topic of addiction with empathy.

Addiction is an Ever-Expanding Disease Classification

In this day and age, it is becoming increasingly obvious that addiction is not simply a choice made by an individual. From the number of people dealing with a substance use disorder to the incorporation of addictive symptomatology into diagnostic manuals, addiction is an ever-expanding disease classification.

While this type of categorization does not fully absolve a person’s individual choices, it does provide insight to their personal struggles. Medical Professionals continue to expand their clinical perspective on how to best provide rehabilitation services and personal assistance.

Learning to treat the sin and love the sinner is a great first step toward addressing an addict’s hardships toward sustained sobriety.

Faith-Based Addiction Treatment at Covenant Hills

Every addict can reach sobriety. If you have the desire to get help and recover, there is hope.

At Covenant Hills, we believe that you can get back to be the person you know is still inside you.

Through our faith-based treatment program, your whole person health will be treated – an approach that focuses on restoring the mind, body, and soul. With our Recovery Assurance Guarantee, we promise that our clients will never experience relapse upon successful completion of treatment. If for any reason you relapse within one year of completing treatment, you can return for a week of stabilization and evaluation at no cost.

Learn about our gender-specific, faith-based addiction treatment programs, or contact us for a free and confidential assessment.