Addiction is often misunderstood. Many people still assume that addiction is a choice, or that there’s a cure for addiction. The harsh truth is that there is no cure. Addiction is a chronic disease. Although it’s true that someone makes the choice to try a drug or drink in the first place, no one does it with the intention of getting addicted to the substance. Today in the Ozarks Teen Challenge blog, we’ll explain more about the science behind addiction.
What is Addiction?
Addiction is a chronic brain disease. It isn’t a moral or ethical failing. Addicts literally have changes in their brain that affect things such as their judgment and decision making. These changes are typically only worsened by the substances they’re using. Once they’re deep in addiction, it’s nearly impossible for them to stop without treatment.
Eventually, their body will develop a need for it, and quitting will cause them to suffer severe physical and mental withdrawal. Most people don’t have the strength to fight through withdrawal symptoms on their own, leading them to go back to their substance of choice.
How Do You Cure Addiction?
As we mentioned before, there isn’t a cure for addiction. It’s a chronic disease that an addict will have to deal with for the rest of their life. However, like most diseases, it can be managed. With rehab and recovery treatments, an addict can live a clean, healthy lifestyle without using. As we mentioned, this is near impossible to do on your own.
An addict needs rehab and treatment in order to realize what they need to do to get better. They may have urges after successful rehab treatments, and these can be managed with what they’ll learn at rehab and with the therapy support system they develop outside of it.
What is the Cause?
You might be wondering why some people can drink alcohol or try a particular drug and not get addicted, while others can’t. Studies have shown that addiction can stem from a variety of factors like their genes, their environment, and how early in their life they started using. Genetics is self-explanatory, if there’s a history of addiction in a person’s family, they tend to have a higher risk of addiction. Environment has to do with where the user lives, meaning if they have a home where family members use drugs and alcohol, they’re more likely to use too. Finally, if they start using when they’re younger, it’s more likely they’ll develop an addiction later since their brains haven’t finished developing.