Addiction Is Not A Disease, It's A Disorder That Starts With A Choice
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Addiction Starts With A Choice, And That's Why It Isn't A Disease

Addiction is caused by a choice to take the drug, a choice that leads to a person becoming a prisoner to his or her own brain.

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female drug addict

Addiction is a very hot topic in any setting these days. There is not one day without opioid addiction being in the news. There is always another life taken too soon. They left family that loved them so much behind, family that wishes they could have saved that person.

I personally have seen the effects addiction has on a family. It can completely destroy it without intention. And though that person may recover, they always have to put their sobriety first and everything else on the back burner.

In the DSM-5, addiction is listed as a mental disorder and not a disease. This is because the disorder is caused by a choice to take the drug, a choice that leads to a person becoming a prisoner to his or her own brain.

In the words of Tom Holden, a psychiatrist and assistant professor at Queen's University Medical School, "Addiction does not meet the criteria specified for a disease because there is not a deviation from the anatomical norm." This means that yes, it is a disorder, but it does not distort the physical body enough to be a disease.

Holden, in his article "Addiction is Not A Disease," states that an actual disease treatment involves more than just changing a behavior and that if a cancer patient is not able to access the outside world, they will still have cancer. If you make an addict restricted to the outside world, they will no longer be an addict. If there is no alcohol, there cannot be alcoholism.

This topic is so controversial because people believe that they are victims of this "genetic" disease, even though every person that is an addict made a choice to take that drug. And yes, there are components in our DNA that make some more likely than others to become an addict.

If there is all this information readily available to people, how is it that we are in a crisis with addiction?

When do we stop playing the victim card and start holding people accountable for actions they made with their own free will?

Personally, I get it. I understand what it is like to be compelled to do things that, if you did not have issues, you would not do.

The difference is, I did not make the choice to have a mental illness.

(Now, mental illness and addiction go hand in hand, but that is a whole other topic.)

My purpose for writing this is not to start a controversy but rather to have people stop blaming everything but themselves for the trouble that happens in their life.

Addiction is not a disease. It is a mental disorder. It's a self-inflicted disorder. And if you are able to grasp the concept that there is something wrong, then you are ready to get help.

The moment we stop blaming, we can get the help we need to overcome the hardest part of our disorders.

Addiction is never cured, just in remission.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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