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Is Drug Addiction a Disease?


Many people believe that addiction is just a lack of self control, and that it is easy to manage. The truth is that addiction is much more than someone not having self discipline. At See Purpose’s addiction treatment services in Indiana, we want to provide information on what drug addiction is, and how it can affect someone’s life. 

Is Drug Abuse a Disease?

According to the Center on Addiction, drug abuse is a disease of the mind and body that involves a compulsion of either one or more substances/behaviors. Addiction and drug abuse can disrupt certain regions of the brain. These regions can be responsible for many different things including the reward system, learning, memory, and judgment. Drug addiction can cause problems for not only the individual using drugs or alcohol, but their relationships as well; whether it be with friends, family, or their significant other. Some argue that addiction is not a disease because they believe it is caused by the individual’s choice to engage in certain behaviors or indulge in certain substances. This has been disproved because heart disease and diabetes are diseases that happen as a result of people’s choices, such as bad diets and no exercise. 

Drug Addiction Is Not Just a Lack of Self Control

Addiction is not just a lack of self control, it also involves changes in the function of the mind and body. Some substance use disorders are caused by pre-existing disorders/co-occurring disorders and others can be caused by prescription drugs. Addiction rewires the brain and causes people to have intense cravings for the substance to the point where they may need it to function fully. According to the American Psychiatric Association, in substance abuse and drug addiction, users will indulge in substances/behaviors for many different reasons including:

  • The high – the feel good of the substance/behavior.
  • Relieve stress/relieve the symptoms of co-occurring disorders.
  • To do/be better – improving for performance.
  • Curiosity
  • Peer pressure

The willpower of an individual changes after the drug addiction begins, not when someone is starting to use a substance. 

is drug addiction a disease

Drug Abuse Is a Disorder

The good news about this disorder is that even in most severe cases it can be manageable and even reversible with long term treatment and support for recovery. Substance Abuse Disorder can cause changes in thinking, behavior, and body functions. According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are different symptoms to substance abuse disorder these include things such as:

  • Imparied control – a strong urge to use a substance. This can also be caused by failed attempts to control substance abuse.
  • Social problems – this can come from issues in relationships with family, friends, peers, and even colleagues. Social activities, leisure activities, and work are given up because of substance abuse disorder.
  • Risky use – substance can be used or received in risky settings. 
  • Drug effects – tolerance (the need for larger amounts over time to receive the same effects) and withdrawal symptoms.

Drug addicts may also experience co-occurring disorders (mental health disorders) while experiencing addiction. The addiction may trigger or cause the mental health disorder to become worse.

Seeking Professional Help for Drug Addiction

Getting professional help for addiction is important in the recovery process. It is better to not try to combat addiction alone, but instead to find as much support as you possibly can. The first step is the recognition of having a problem, and then the next step to getting better, is reaching out to receive help, whether first with family, friends, or a medical professional. After that, it’s important to get professional help and join a community/support group to start creating a healthy, sober environment. 

Here at See Purpose’s Indiana drug addiction treatment center, we provide individualized and unique treatment care for each of our clients. We provide different treatment options to assist in each of our clients recovery process. We want to help our clients in every way possible. Reach out to us today to get individualized care for your recovery! 

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