March 31, 2013
Should Addiction Be Considered A Disease?
In society, drugs have been the downfall for many people. There are many reasons that a person may use drugs such as: peer pressure, relief of stress, increased energy, to relax, to relieve pain, to escape reality, to feel more self esteem, and for recreation ("Drug addiction and drug abuse," 2011). What is it that causes the obsession and compulsion to use drugs? Why can some people stop and others go on to become addicts? Addiction is often now defined by the continuing, compulsive nature of the drug use despite physical and/or psychological harm to the user and society ("Drug addiction and drug abuse," 2011). MRI’s have shown evidence that the brain of an addict has specific abnormalities of tissue malfunction that non-addicts do not have (About.com 2004). Drug addiction is a disease that can be defined as a disordered condition resulting from the effect of deficiency or imbalance on the body. Drug addiction can be considered almost like a cancer or virus because it takes over one’s body and can cause detrimental physical and mental effect (Antiessays.com, 2012) s. Addiction is a disease that affects not only the person taking the drugs, but also their family, friends and the community around them.
Drug addiction is considered a disease by some but others view it as a lack of will power. Addiction to drugs was once viewed as a moral issue but as more research is done they are finding more evidence that supports it as a disease. A disease is any harmful, depraved or morbid condition that affects the mind or society. Drug addiction shares many features with other chronic illnesses ("The process addictions and the new ASAM definition of addiction," 2012). Like other chronic diseases, addiction involves cycles of relapse and remission. Many times a person will start out just experimenting with a drug, perhaps they intended to try it just once. Instead they find that they enjoy the effects of the drugs, such as the euphoric state that it causes. No one starts out using drugs wanting to become an addict, but in time the repeated use goes from being a voluntary and controllable decision to being compulsive and uncontrollable decisions. This change occurs because over time, use of addictive drugs changes the brain. Addiction can be defined as uncontrollable, compulsive drug seeking and use, even in the face of negative health and social consequences (Leshner, 2001). Like other chronic illnesses it has a tendency to run in families and is influenced by environmental conditions and behavior ("The process addictions and the new ASAM definition of addiction," 2012). Just as with chronic illnesses it also can respond to appropriate treatment, which may include long-term lifestyle modifications (NIDA, 2000). Drugs can physically deteriorate the brain, but they can also make it malfunction and think differently. Because addiction has both behavioral and social components that need to be addressed, it can be very similar to other disorders like schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s. Drug addiction can lead to other health problems such as heart disease, cancer, and HIV/ AIDS just to name a few and without treatment it can be fatal.
Drug addiction affects many and is a major burden to society. The addict is affected mentally, physically, economically and spiritually. When an addict uses drugs they get an overwhelming and uncontrollable urges for the drug which leads them to neglect their responsibilities, using under dangerous conditions or taking risks while high, which in turn leads to problems with all the relationships that they have. Addicts and their families are affected by drug use because the addict will begin to neglect all areas of their life, such as their spouse, children, work, and they can put themselves in risky situations that can cause repercussions on their family. Some of the social...