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Addiction

Addiction, Dependence or both?

Addiction is a compulsion to use anything (including alcohol and other drugs) regardless of negative consequences.  Addiction is a psychological and sometimes physical dependence.  Dependency is the ongoing need to use alcohol or other drugs to feel normal and to be able to function daily.  Addiction can lead to dependence.

Addiction occurs when a person is physically or mentally dependent on a drug and does not have the power to stop.  Addiction is also used with the term dependence and occurs after the abuse stage.  When someone is addicted, their choices will revolve on the chemical that they are addicted to.

 

When a person becomes an addict

There are 6 levels of use:

  • Abstinence - someone who never takes drugs unless accidental and it has no impact on their life.
  • Experimentation - when a person does not seek out a drug but does them to purely experiment and it also has no negative impact on their life.
  • Social/Recreational - when someone seeks out a drug for social or recreational use only.  Again, this has little negative impact on their life.
  • Habituation - when a person seeks out a drug and does them on a schedule.  For example, every Friday, Saturday, Sunday.  Habituation usually leads to abuse but not always.
  • Abuse - when a drug user will use a drug all the time and this has a lot of negative consequences and impacts the use tremendously.
  • Addiction - when a user cannot live without the drug and this is the worst level of use.  Addiction leads to the worst health consequences and behavior consequences as well.  Addiction can lead to jail or even death.

 

Is my Addiction a Disease?

There are a few ways that drug addiction is similar to other health related diseases.    First, if a person is diagnosed with addiction this can be classified as a disease that could be covered by insurance companies.  Drug addiction as a disease removes the stigma associated with AOD addiction, therefore removing the guilt as well.  You wouldn’t feel that having heart disease (although it is preventable like addiction) was because of lack of will power or a character flaw.  On the other hand heart disease is a result in unhealthy choices a person makes in their lifetime just as the disease of addiction.  The negative consequences are similar in that someone with heart disease should not go to McDonalds and eat a Big Mac just as an alcoholic should not go drink 10 beers in one night without a consequence tied to the end.

The disease model of addiction has been up for debate for years.  Research has gone back and forth trying to prove both sides.  The fact is though, that the medical community has accepted addiction as a form of disease.   Valid studies have been done on both the disease model of addiction as well as other theories to try and debunk this model.  There has been research on whether or not genetics and biology play a role in this disease.  The disease model of addiction supports the fact that some human beings are predisposed to this disease.  There has also been brain research that supports the disease model of addiction.  The disease model of addiction is now being called medical model of addiction.  

 

What Should I do about my Addiction?

The first thing you should do is focus on finding the root cause in your life which got you to this point.  This is where counseling and therapy can help.  The first step in doing something about it is knowing that there is something you should be doing.  It might sound contrived by knowing there is a problem can be as much of an impact as actually getting help.  Reach out to us or continue reading more about the various therapy options available to you today.  Addiction can be treated and you have come to the right place to do so.
 

Addiction occurs when a person is physically or mentally dependent on a drug and does not have the power to stop.  Addiction is also used with the term dependence and occurs after the abuse stage.  When someone is addicted, their choices will revolve on the chemical that they are addicted to.