Why is drug addiction considered a complex disease?

Questions about Alcoholism

If you are struggling with excessive drug use and have decided to get help for your problem, the next step is choosing a program that can help you overcome your substance use. You may have heard treatment centers suggest that you have an addiction disease, but another say that your drug use is a choice, while yet another may say that giving your problem to a higher power will make everything alright. It is easily understandable if you are confused about whether a drug addiction is considered a complex disease or not.

Some professionals in the drug rehab community would like you to believe that substance abuse is a predisposed genetic defect and that you inherited an addiction gene from your family. They want you to believe that you have an addiction disease that forces you to use drugs. They try to make you feel better by telling you that you cannot help it that you use drugs because you have a disease. However, there has been no gene that has revealed addiction traits.

Some members of the medical community have subscribed to the idea that drug addiction is a complex brain disease that causes a person to do drugs. They argue that the brain undergoes certain changes from drug use and that proves that you have a brain disease. Conversely in a real disease, like leukemia, the person does not have the power to decide to not have leukemia, neither can they stop the physiological changes that go on inside their body due to the leukemia, nor can they get rid of the symptoms. It is impossible to compare the changes made to the body from a true disease such as leukemia to an individual’s drug use. It is possible to stop drug use, but it is impossible to stop leukemia.

Realizing that you have a drug use issue and making the decision to get help, is a step toward changing the behavior and getting better. Finding the right program, that can actually help you and not excuse the behavior under the guise of a disease, is your mission.

Traditional drug and alcohol use programs, such as 12 step programs, promote the idea that drug use is a disease. They use labels such as addict, and tell you that the only treatment for you is surrendering your will and drug use to a higher power; attending meetings for the rest of your life and abstinence. 12 step programs indicate that you will relapse because you have a disease, so you should expect to fail in your attempt to resist drug use.

The truth is that drug use is not a disease but it is a choice you make to use drugs. St Jude Retreats fully supports this. Your choice to use drugs is based on learned behavior that you picked up from watching others use drugs. You do not have a brain disease that forces you to use drugs and you do have the power to stop using drugs. Our staff can help you realize what addiction is and more importantly what it is not. Call today to get more information about the St Jude Program.