Is Addiction a Disease?
Yes. Chemical Dependency is a disease that affects all aspects of a person’s life. One of the reasons that Chemical Dependency and/or addiction is categorized as a disease is that it has all of the following characteristics of diseases.
Chemical Dependency is the Primary cause of the problems – When a person is addicted to drugs, he/she begins to have a lot of problems that are caused by the addiction. For most drug addicts, these problems go away when they quit doing drugs and enter into recovery. (It is important to note, that some people have both Chemical Dependency and mental health issues. When this occurs, both issues must be addressed in order to ensure that they heal.) Some of the areas that are frequently affected by Chemical Dependency include:
- Change in Personality - Drug Addicts frequently begin to experience significant personality changes when they are using
drugs. They often become secretive, unpredictable, and unreliable when they are using. The person you “used to know” before they became
addicted begins to disappear in front of you as they use.
- Change in Values – Drug Addicts frequently lie to cover up the amount and frequency of their drug use. A person who
normally would be honest begins to be able to “look you in the eyes” and lie to you when they become addicted. Most drug addicts lie in
order to protect their access to the drugs. Anyone or anything that threatens their ability to use is seen as the problem.
- Change in Moods – Drug Addicts can be very moody. This often occurs because of the feelings of shame they experience
because of their addiction. To hide their shame, they may become defensive and start blaming those around them for all of the problems.
In fact, Drug Addicts frequently become angry when they are confronted about their drug usage or their changes in behavior
- Change in Relationships – The first place where the effects of Chemical Dependency appear is in relationships. The
lying, mood changes, withdrawal and personality changes all take a toll on relationships. Many marriages, families, and relationships are
torn apart because of the disease of Chemical Dependency.
- Change in Level of Functioning – Drug Addicts have trouble maintaining their ability to perform at their previous levels of functioning. They may begin to have legal issues (i.e. DUI) or work performance issue (i.e. tardiness or increase in absences).
- Change in Physical Health – Chemical Dependency takes a toll on the body. Physical issues include, hypertension, heart
problems, weight issues, liver failure, and brain damage.
- Change in Spiritual Health – Drug Addicts tend to become disconnected from everyone and everything, including their
Chemical Dependency is Chronic – Once a person has become addicted to drugs, they will always be an addict. There is no
going back to occasional using.
Chemical Dependency is Progressive – If left untreated, Chemical Dependency gets worse over time. Drug Addicts don’t “grow out of it” or “go through a phase” of using drugs. The disease of addiction progresses something like this:
- Stage 1 - Live and Use
- Stage 2 - Use and Live
- Stage 3 - Live to use
- Stage 4 - Use to live
Chemical Dependency is Fatal – Because Chemical Dependency is progressive and chronic, if left untreated, it does lead to death. Death may come quickly via a motor vehicle accident or slowly as the body wears down.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, New Dimensions can help.
New Dimensions Can Help!
New Dimensions can help you reclaim your life. Our 12-step based programs are designed to help you develop the skills you need to create lasting sobriety. We can help you work through the baggage that addictions create so that you can live a meaningful authentic life. To learn more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
New Dimensions serves Houston, Clear Lake, Katy, The Woodlands, League City, Friendswood, Galveston, Pearland, Pasadena, Baytown, Spring, Conroe, Kingwood, Sugarland, Cypress, Tomball, Richmond, Humble, Huntsville, Bellaire, Seabrook, Alvin, Missouri City, Lake Jackson, and surrounding areas.