Unfortunately, there’s a common misconception that addiction only happens to the morally weak. When it comes to the question, “Is addiction a disease?” many people believe addiction occurs because of flaws in the user’s personality. This mischaracterization that addiction is a weakness of character contributes to the stigma suffered by those struggling with chemical dependency. Science disagrees with this perception and addiction is defined as a disease by most medical associations including the American Medical Association.
The Many Faces of Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Anyone can develop an addiction. Addiction crosses all age, gender, socioeconomic, and race demographics. It’s rampant among the homeless, veterans, college students, and white and blue-collar workers alike.
Is Addiction a Disease? Science Says Yes
The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as an illness. Experts explain addiction as a brain dysfunction involving the cognitive reward center. Over time, changes happen deep in the brain that cause addicts to have an uncontrollable urge to use substances despite adverse consequences. This happens because drug and alcohol use causes the release of dopamine. It is dopamine that is responsible for the euphoric high associated with drug use and dopamine that teaches the brain that drugs and alcohol will give the best reward.
For example, stimulants, alcohol, depressants, painkillers, and even sex, gambling, and shopping release dopamine. Addiction imprisons the user even if the individual’s health, relationships, well-being, education, and job performance suffer. Experts believe the condition is a chronic and progressive disease with, unfortunately, no cure. This is why choosing the right addiction treatment program is so important to successful recovery.
Although there’s no cure for addiction, there is treatment. At New Bridge Foundation in Berkeley, California, our services include:
- Short-term residential treatment (Helios)
- Short-term outpatient Program (Helios)
- Long-term residential treatment (START)
Additionally, depending on the program, individuals have access to the following treatment methods:
- Individual counseling
- Group therapy and education
- Dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders
- Holistic treatment approaches including Yoga, acupuncture, and mindfulness meditation
- 12-Step program and 12-Step alternatives
- Aftercare program
- Family Program
We work with individuals to get to the root of their addiction. This process helps them break the psychological component of drug or alcohol dependence. Because no two people are alike, it’s crucial to devise therapeutic approaches specific to the individual. Everyone who enters a program at New Bridge Foundation receives a unique recovery strategy tailor-made for them.
Addiction Treatment at New Bridge Foundation
Is addiction a disease? It most certainly is, and it won’t get better without help. If you or a loved one suffers from a substance use disorder, New Bridge Foundation works with you as an individual to help you choose the best comprehensive care. With no judgment and an understanding that addiction, as a disease, requires specialized treatment, we will help you transform your life. Call 866-772-8491 today for immediate assistance.