Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Disease of Addiction

When people hear the words “drug addict” they often attach negative connotations and stigma to them.  People visualize a person who doesn’t care about work, life, or anything other than getting high.  But, this is not the case.  As research continues in the area of addiction, it is becoming more commonly understood that it is a disease and needs to be treated as one.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment defines addiction as a chronic, metabolic disease of the brain and nervous system.  They report that as addiction progresses, changes in the brain and neurotransmitter function can be seen and recorded.  Addiction can cause permanent changes in brain structure and chemistry.  It’s a brain disorder with the characteristics of a medical illness.  The positive news is that when addiction is treated as a chronic illness, the compliance and relapse rates of substance dependence are as good as or better than other chronic illnesses.

The disease of addiction can affect anyone.  With the recent death of Whitney Houston, it shows that addiction is far reaching and doesn’t discriminate.  According to autopsy results, Houston was not only a chronic cocaine user, but toxicology results found marijuana, Xanax, the muscle relaxant Flexeril and Benadryl in her body as well.  

Addiction recovery is a lifelong process that requires ongoing, continual care similar to any chronic, medical diseases.  As with Houston’s battle, there may be many ups and downs.  The important point is that there is hope and recovery is possible.  By dedicating oneself to treatment, participating in counseling and twelve step programs, and having the willingness to be fully engaged in a treatment program – success and sobriety are reachable goals.


Memie said...

Addiction doesn't only destroy the life of the abuser, it also destroys the lives of his family, especially of his children. Please, for the benefit of the younger generation, let us ward off addiction. If a member of your family needs help, don't hesitate to pick up the phone and call for rehabilitation center referrals. This link might help: http://www.medicaldetox.org/

rudi123 said...

Addiction of any kind can be very destructive and hard to treat. Unlike other diseases, addiction is not always accepted by society. This is often due to a lack of understanding of the disease. I found this addiction blog very helpful.