Addiction is a complex issue. Some argue that it is solely a brain disease, some who argue that it is entirely spiritual, and some who argue against addiction being a disease at all. The truth is that addiction is a disease, albeit a complicated one. It affects the mind, body, and spirit in ways that ways that mirror other diseases, and in ways that differ. Recent research into the relationship between addiction and the brain has yielded some surprising results. The National Institute on Drug Abuse firmly believes that addiction is a brain disease. According to the NIDA, “Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors.” While some people believe that addiction is the result of moral failure or lack of self-will and self-control, the fact of the matter is that addiction creates very real and very significant changes to the brain that cause an individual to entirely lose power over their ability to regulate or moderate their alcohol or drug use. The central symptom of addiction is an entire loss of power over drugs and alcohol. We will continue to drink or use drugs despite any negative consequences. A person who is not addicted, when faced with major life consequences like job loss, homelessness, and health problems, will be able to discontinue their drinking or drug use. For those suffering from addiction, this is not possible. Dr. Michael Bierer, in a 2016 Harvard Health Blog entitled Is Addiction a ‘Brain Disease’, explains, “An addicted person’s impaired ability to stop using drugs or alcohol has to do with deficits in the function of the prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain involved in executive function. The prefrontal cortex has several important jobs: self-monitoring, delaying reward, and integrating whatever the intellect tells you is important with what the libido is telling you. The difficulty also has to do with how the brain, when deprived of the drugs to which it is accustomed, reacts to stress. The response is usually exaggerated negative emotion, and even despair.” In this way, we become dependent on drugs and alcohol for a sense of well-being and entirely lose control over any ability we may have once had to discontinue using and drinking.
Your story doesn’t have to be one of pain and suffering as a result of addiction. You can make the decision to seek help now and embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment center in the heart of beautiful Laguna Beach, offers innovative and highly effective care that treats addiction from every mental, spiritual, and physical aspect. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777