It has long been debated whether or not alcoholism and drug addiction is a disease or a choice. If you ask people or search the internet on this topic, there is about a 50/50 split. There are strong opinions on both sides.
Yes, it is a choice in the beginning for someone to pick up a drink or a drug. However, there does come a time when it is no longer a choice. An invisible line is crossed and there is no turning back. It becomes a disease. A mind powered disease that takes over all control. It is a disease of the mind, a mental illness. No longer will willpower alone stop the addict from using. It is a disease like any other that needs to be treated.
The American Medical Association (AMA) declared that alcoholism was an illness in 1956. In 1991, The AMA further endorsed the dual classification of alcoholism by the International Classification of Diseases under both psychiatric and medical sections. This decision and distinction paved the way for today’s treatment for the addicted person. Because of this, insurance companies were now providing coverage for the addict. They now recognized this disease just like any other.
Many people do not understand why an addict becomes addicted. Why can’t they just stop? They think they are just weak. They have no willpower. They lack morals. The disease is much more complex than that. When children are young, they say things like, “When I grow up, I want to be a fireman, or a policeman, or President of the United States.” No one ever says “When I grow up I want to shoot up heroin, or I hope that some day I am living under a bridge drinking cheap wine in a paper bag.” This is not something anyone wants. The choice is gone. It has completely taken over any rational thinking. It becomes a physical dependency and a mental obsession. Simply just stopping is no longer an option.
The debate of whether addiction is a disease or a moral dilemma will probably be argued forever. It is the only disease that tries to convince the addict that they do not have it. It is a disease centered in the mind. If treated, the addict can recover from a hopeless state of mind. It is the only disease that if treated properly, the person just may be better off than if they did not ever have it. They can be shown a new way of life. A life that they never knew they were capable of. A life that they never thought they were worthy of.
Addictions of all types can be treated and need to be treated for a lifetime. Just like all other diseases, treatment is necessary. Just like somebody that has lung cancer from smoking, they don’t get the news and say “Ok, I will just stop smoking and I will be good.” They have to have the treatment needed in order for a chance to live. In that same regard, the addict can not simply just put down the drink or the drug and everything will be ok. They need to be treated. At first physically, and then mentally and spiritually. They need to learn a whole new way to live. A way to cope with life without the aid of a substance. Through this treatment, the addict can find a new peace and serenity that was deep inside of them all along. They just didn’t know how to find it. They can find a true happiness, a freedom of the mind and spirit.
For information on how to get help with substance abuse, give Step One Rehab a call at 888- 906-1726. Substance abuse does not have to dominate you or your loved one’s life. With help, control can be gained again.