Addiction as a Disease Illustrated

Chemical Dependency, whether on alcohol or drugs, is a disease. It affects and stems from the mind, body and spirit. For many years people believed that it was just a moral defect, and did not see addiction as a disease. Recent studies show that it is not only a disease, but that genetics play a part in it as well. Addicts/alcoholics are not bad people, they cannot live up to the morals they are aware of, and they cannot see the consequences they have endured. What we see is that drugs are the problem. We see the consequences from the disease, and wonder why the addict will not stop as a result. In an addict’s mind what they see is that drugs are the solution.

Addicts seek relief, and their minds tell them that the next high is worth whatever so long as they receive that relief. When anyone or anything comes in the way of the addict receiving that relief, their solution, whomever or whatever automatically becomes the problem. Have you ever heard your loved one say, “I only smoke because it helps with my anxiety”, or, “I drink because it makes me feel right.” Your loved one is being completely honest. Addicts use/drink because it relieves an internal emotional turmoil, and their mind tells them it is worth it. The mind, untreated, will always take them back out. They seek that effect produced by the substance, and after a time when their tolerance builds up they must use more to get the same effect. After a while the substance stops working and they continue to use, because their mind tells them they can achieve that effect produced.


When we look at our loved one we tell ourselves, “They would stop if they really loved me” or, “Why can’t they see how much damage they are causing their lives?” But a part of this illness, since it centers in the brain, is the lack of proportion in the ability to think straight. Addicts and alcoholics have no effective mental defense in regards to getting loaded, they are completely powerless. They stay in a state of delusion regarding the disease, and how bad it truly is. There is this invisible line where, once the addict has crossed this line, they lose the power to choose whether they will use or not. All the sound reasoning and consequences suffered will inevitably go out the window in comparison to seeking the effect produced.

The insane idea will always win out with an untreated addicted mind. Once that occurs and the addict puts something in their body it sets the insidious cycle in motion again, until they are stopped and become remorseful. This is usually when their problems have piled up, and they will make all of the promise to quit. These promises, as much as the addict would like to fulfill them are in no comparison once they become restless, irritable and discontent again. At that point they will need the relief, and they will do anything to get it. With addiction some form of intervention is necessary to help motivate the addict into seeking help. Whether the intervention is jail, loss of job, loss of family or through an interventionist something drastic must interfere to drive the addict to seek true relief. Usually the best time for this is after an addict’s bender, when they are remorseful.

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