I've seen a lot of buzz recently on social media posing the question "Is drug addiction a choice or a disease?" and a lot of people have different opinions on the matter. Some say that it is a choice because the person decides to initially do the drug and others say that it is a disease because your body starts to develop a reliance on the drug. Both sides make sense, but the reality of it is, we don't get to make that decision for the people who actually have these drug problems.
It's easy to have opinions on things looking from the outside in. When you give a friend relationship advice, you give advice based off of what you see. You don't actually see or experience what the relationship is actually like. This is similar to how we view drug addiction and how we determine whether or not it's a choice or a disease. People who have never had a drug problem or who had one but got clean cannot be the ones judging someone else's problem.
When someone does a drug, yes, they make the decision to do that drug. Before you do anything, you first make the decision to do that thing. So to say that drug addiction is a choice, well if you're talking about DOING the drug, then yes, technically, you do make a choice to do the drug, just like you would make the choice to do anything else. However, what a drug does to a person, mentally, physically, or psychologically, is not for us to decide or judge. Once a person gets addicted and relies on a drug, it's already too late to try and decide whether or not that person is choosing to do it to themselves or if they just can not control the urges to continue using the drug. How can we determine that? The damage is already done, so deciding between choice or disease does not matter.
Drug addiction consumes people's minds and bodies, but how a drug affects each person is not the same. We try and categorize every drug addiction case and that is just not possible. Just like every person is different, well, every drug is different. And how drugs affect a person is also different from how they may affect someone else. Some drugs may have devastating effects on some people and others maybe not. Some drugs kill people after initial use and other people can continuously use a drug and still wake up every morning. The effects of drugs are unpredictable and how the human body reacts to a drug is also unpredictable.
In addition, we can not determine whether or not a person is going to get addicted to a drug or not. Some people have addictive personalities where they easily get addicted to anything ranging from food to gambling, nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, drugs, etc. However, we don't see people asking the question of whether or not food addiction is a disease, do we? No. So, why do we question the addictions people have to drugs? Obviously, drugs are deemed more dangerous than something like food, but that's all relative anyway.
When a person literally gets consumed by drugs, they really do not have control over that. Your body relies on the drug in order to function, even though the drugs are really just deteriorating your body. Your body convinces itself that it needs drugs. The reliance a person develops from a drug causes their body to keep telling them "more, more, more," and when you reach a point like that, it really is not easy for a person to just come out of that. The worst part is, most people don't even want to bother because a lot of people see drug addicts as lost causes. Like they don't deserve help? Yes, some drug addicts refuse help, but society has put this stigma around drug addicts like they're bad people and are not deserving of help because they did it to themselves.
While there are some drug addicts out there who probably don't even want the help and they're OK relying on a drug to get through the day, there are also drug addicts out there crying for help. And what are we doing? We're all sitting behind our screens arguing about whether or not drug addiction is a choice or a disease. That decision is not for us to decide. Ultimately, it's the drug's decision because drugs just take over completely.
As always, you are not alone, so if you or someone you care about has a drug problem, please click either of the links below: