Addiction is recognized by the American Medical Association as a disease. The disease is manifested as a compulsive physiological need to use any mind-altering or habit-forming substance. In addiction, the body adapts to the particular substance. This gradually necessitates an increase in the amount of the substance required to produce the effects originally obtained through smaller doses. Addiction to any substance is a dangerous condition that is exceedingly difficult to rehabilitate of one’s own volition.
In untreated cases of addiction, the person affected will crave the substance in the same manner as someone starving from food or water. Afflicted individuals will typically continue their consumption regardless of the damage it causes to their health, relationships, career, or their finances, as the compulsion – both physiological and psychological – is uncontrollable.
Addiction is a chronic disease, and like many other diseases, the disposition addiction is commonly passed genetically. While this genetic link has been scientifically determined, an individual’s lifestyle, environment, stress level, and the availability of drugs or alcohol also play a significant role in the development of this illness. Fortunately, even those “at risk” for the disease of addiction may not ever develop it. Understanding an individual’s risk level, however, can be key to protecting oneself and getting the help needed as early as possible.
If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, contact our 24-hour HelpLine at 1-(888)-755-7227.