Drug Addiction, Disease or Choice

Powerful Essays
Tia Little
English 111
Graybeal
November 7, 2012

Addiction: A Decision or Disease? Drug and alcohol addiction is a very serious and widespread problem in America, and across the globe. Drug addiction is a constant craving, seeking, and using of a substance, despite the negative consequences it may have on the addict or those around them. When drug use becomes more frequent, it is considered drug abuse. Once an individual’s drug abuse is can no longer be controlled, and they are using the drug to get through everyday life, it beomes an addiction. A person on drugs has an altered way of thinking, behaving, and perceiving. There are treatment facilities all over the world dedicated to help those suffering with drug addictions. All though there are drugs to help reduce cravings and discourage drug use, there is no drug that can stop a drug addiction. Many times the facilities are not accessible to addicts, and even those who are able to receive treatment have a high risk of relapsing, or continuing drug use after being clean from the drug. Because of the history of drug addiction and abuse in my own family, my interest was sparked at and early age. When seeing an addict or hearing about them on television I used to ask myself “why can’t they just stop” . After learning the anatomy of an addiction, and how it changes the chemistry of the brain I realized it’s more than a matter of willpower or wanting to quit. It’s not a matter of being clean for an addict, it’s a matter of survival. As a person with a passion for addicts and a future of helping them on their steps to recovery, it is hurtful to know that many people think drug addiction is just a choice the addict made. Although it may be a result of the choices they made, once they are addicted is it much more complicated than that. In my research, I wanted to find evidence that supports the argument that drug addiction is a disease, as opposed to what many believe, a decision. To support this idea, I have



Cited: Hirschman, David. "Your Brain on Drugs: Dopamine and Addiction." Big Think. N.p., Sept.-Oct. 2010. Web. 01 Nov. 2012. <http://bigthink.com/going-mental/your-brain-on-drugs-dopamine-and-addiction>. Koob, George. “Neuroscience of Addiction.” Neuron 21.3 (1998): 467-476. ScienceDirect. Web. 1 Nov. 2012. <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627300805577> Moal, Michel Le. “Drug addiction: Pathways to the Disease and Pathophysiological Perspectives.” European Neuropsychopharmacy 17.6 (2007): 377-393. ScienceDirect. Web. 1 Nov. 2012. Norton, Elizabeth. “Primed for Addiction?.” Science Now 2 Feb. 2012. Science Magazine. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. Smith, David E. “ The Process Addictions and the New ASAM Definition of Addiction.” Journal of Psychoactive Drug 44.1 (2012) : 1-4. EBSCO. Web. 1 Nov. 2012. "Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction." Drug Facts. National Institute of Drug Abuse, Mar. 2011. Web. 01 Nov. 2012 <http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts /understanding- drug-abuse-addiction>. “Nationwide Trends.” Drug Facts. National Institute of Drug Abuse Aug. 2012. Web. 01 Nov. 2012 http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/nationwide-trends.

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