Is Drug Addiction a Disease or a Choice?
According to DrugAbuse.gov, “Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her.” The key here is that the addicted person will continue using even when they see the harm their addiction is causing. They know it’s bad for them, and they don’t want to be addicted. But addiction is characterized by the inability to stop.
But why is drug addiction considered an illness? Drug addiction follows a similar pattern just like other chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. The patient will go into remission, but may have multiple relapses before conquering the disease in its entirety. This is partially due to the fact of chronic illnesses and addiction being caused by a mixture of behavioral, environmental and biological dynamics. Furthermore, genetics is a main risk factor in the likelihood of an individual developing an addiction.
With long-term usage, drugs and alcohol disrupts the reward circuit in the brain that influcences its ability to function properly. In addition, compartments of the brain that are tied to logical thinking, judgment,,decision making, and memory. and decision making are also impaired. The controversial thinking of society is that those with an addiction are able to make conscious decisions to either continue their drug addiction or stop. But this perception is not only insensitive, it’s also untrue. Yes, by contrary belief, initial and early decisions to use drug substances indicates a person’s free will or conscious choice. But what society fails to realize is, once the brain has been hindred by addiction, that choice or willpower becomes increasingly compromised. Perhaps the most defining symptom of addiction is a loss of control over a substance. According to Dr. Nora D. Volkow, author of ” “. States that ‘There Seems to be intimate relationships between the circuits disrupted by abused drugs and those that underlie self-control. This would make it extremely difficult for a drug abuser to just quit on their own.