Is Addiction a Disease?

BlogArticlesIs Addiction a Disease? Foundation. We're here to help.

Drug Rehab & Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Foundation offers a private, secure, tranquil residential rehab with personalized, individual treatment.

Call 1-888-999-8101

Our Therapies Explained

At Foundation, we offer several services above our therapeutic addiction treatment programs. Whether you are a friend, family member, coworker, or boss, often it’s hard to know what to do to help. Foundation is here to guide you.

Table of Contents

Listen to Gary, one of our many success stories, describe his experience with us:

More Success Stories

Is Addiction a Disease?

Can Labeling Addiction as a Disease be Harmful?

A legitimate disease

If you’ve ever struggled with addiction, you know how easy it is to think that you’re not really ill, but just weak-willed and a bad person. The idea that addiction is a disease has helped many people accept their condition as something beyond their control. It’s also led to complacency: if addiction is viewed as an illness, then we can excuse our own self-destructive behavior by thinking “it’s not my fault!” This can be problematic if the person doesn’t actually have an illness; they may feel hopeless in their attempts at recovery without ever getting any help or treatment for their addictions.

Sometimes, the idea of addiction as a disease can lead to complacency.

If someone can be labeled an addict and not be expected to take responsibility for his or her actions, then they might not be motivated to change themselves. They may think that nothing they do matters because they’re stuck with this “disease.” This is obviously not the case: while it’s true that many people initially reach out for treatment because they feel compelled by their habits, this isn’t necessarily true forever—and it shouldn’t prevent people from trying new things if they want them badly enough.

For some people, addiction is a disease, but it isn’t for everyone.

One of the most significant hurdles in treating addiction is that not everyone who struggles with it sees it as a disease. For some, addiction is an accepted way of life; for others, a series of bad choices. For these groups of people, labeling addiction as a disease can actually be harmful—and I don’t mean because they’ll resist treatment or fail to accept their condition. Labeling addiction as a disease might make some people feel like they’re not responsible for their actions when they’re caught abusing drugs or alcohol—which means they’re less likely to seek help on their own terms and may end up needing medical intervention instead.

This issue isn’t just relevant to addicts either: if you think about your own beliefs about why someone would start using drugs or alcohol excessively (often referred to as “trigger” situations), you probably have trouble coming up with one response that fits every person’s situation exactly—everywhere from family members who think nothing more than “I wish my brother would stop smoking weed,” to spouses who believe their significant other has lost control over their life because he/she suffers from chronic depression.

Overdependence on the idea of addiction as a disease can be problematic.

The idea that addiction is a disease can also be problematic. As Sam Quinones, author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, explains, “Addiction is not just about drugs. It’s about love and sex and gambling.” This means that labeling addiction as a disease may not always fit the bill. Addiction is a complex phenomenon that involves multiple facets, such as mental health conditions, environmental factors and social circumstances. It’s also worth noting that while many people do suffer from substance use disorders —and some forms of drug abuse should indeed be treated as such—this doesn’t mean they’re all addicts by default or even at all times during their lives (or even at any point in most cases). Labeling someone an addict because they’ve used alcohol or drugs recreationally once would be bad enough; calling someone an addict merely because they occasionally drink coffee could potentially get out of hand quickly.

Addiction doesn’t have to be viewed as a disease in order to get help and treatment.

You don’t have to be addicted to label addiction a disease in order to get help and treatment. Addiction doesn’t have to be viewed as a disease in order to get help and treatment.
You can take control of your life, and ask for the help you need without being afraid that it will stigmatize you or make others think less of you.

Don’t let labels stop you from taking control over your own life!
Don’t let labels stop you from asking for help when you need it!
Don’t let labels stop you from taking care of yourself!

Get help with addiction and substance abuse

Since addiction is a disease, it can be treated. If you feel like your life has become unmanageable due to drug or alcohol use, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We’re here to help you get back on track and make the most out of your life!

author avatar
Sobriety Foundation

Is Addiction a Disease?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.