A recently trending and controversial topic of discussion has recently emerged and it’s the debate on the issue of “drug addiction not being a disease“. Opioid addiction and other drug related epidemics have been a growing concern to the FDA and medical professionals worldwide and because of this this recent conclusion – it’s giving us all a different outlook on the nature of addiction and its correlation to being a disease-derived condition.
Unfortunately, addiction-inflicted individuals are often times deemed to be disease-impaired as medical professionals for years have now been diagnosing addiction as a “disease” and not a matter of poor decision making.
Stating an individual shackled by the life of chemical dependency as being a disease is a concept, belief, and cause that we’ve come to agree upon but medical professionals are beginning to make the causes of addiction more transparent and which has initiated lash back and controversy from addicts and even some doctors.
Some experts believe that addiction is attributed to an underlying factor – making the poor choice to start the drug in the first (and a disease isn’t going to just turn you in to an addict).
A prime example is an individual suffering from Cancer. A patient diagnosed with Cancer is most certainly inflicted with a disease which requires medication and addiction treatment to cure (if possible). However, rehabilitation centers that treat patients for addiction (or disease as some call it) are effectively able to cure patients of addiction thru the use of therapeutic programs – one of which is the 12-step program.
Now, if we take an Opioid addict that’s admitted to a rehabilitation center extends the support of a 12-step program and the patient commences treatment without the want, need, or urge for the drug in which they abused – they’re treated. However, this would mean recovery was accomplished thru the use of non-medicated means (something that wouldn’t be achieved if an actual disease existed).
Unfortunately, we live in a society where the younger generation tends to have the “victim mentality” where feeling sorry for oneself makes coping with reality manageable. Often times, this will result in the first-time use of a drug which commonly leads to extended use and eventually abuse.
What’s important to notate in such a situation as this is that drug addiction didn’t stem from a disease but rather the thought process of the individual. While this is simply once scenario of many, addiction mainly stems from such thought processes or peer-influence (which again would be poor decision making, not an addiction).
Drug addiction is a choice, keep in mind that a disease is an occurrence that happens to you, drug addiction doesn’t just invade your life, its presence is a sign of a choice being made to allow it there in the first place. While one rebuttal for drug addiction argues the point of how many prescriptions are being written out, this again is just an excuse for addiction as if these medication were taken as prescribed then addiction wouldn’t occur (as claimed by some of the communities leading medical experts).
Again, diseases are what “happens to you”.
For example, kidney failure or heart disease wouldn’t be something that’s there by choice (as these are actual diseases). I’m going to go over some statements to back-up the claim that “drug addiction is NOT a disease”.
As you can see, there are major difference between “addiction” and a “disease”. Mainly, the point is that addiction is brought on to one’s self thru a lack of judgment. Regardless of decision making skills, a disease can still occur, it’s not a choice.
Because self-discipline, support, faith, and hard work can result in ones recovery of addiction – medical experts and individuals are beginning to grasp, understand, and live with the concept, or rather the “truth” that addiction simply is not a disease.
If addiction truly was a disease, it wouldn’t be treatable thru methods such as the 12-step program that we referenced earlier on. Traditional diseases require intervention and treatment that is much more involved and evasive then simple therapeutic sessions and counseling and this should provide the realization that addiction isn’t a disease but rather a choice that can be easily treated thru the proper intervention.
Don’t partake in the “victim mentality” – it’s a mindset that’ll only allow yourself to put yourself down which can result in the continued use of drugs. Rather, realize the fact that you don’t have a disease on your hands but rather a repercussion of a bad choice that can be solved simply by making a good one.
Dr. Vikram Tarugu, M.D, is the CEO of Detox of South Florida, Inc and medical professional focused on addiction. A veteran in the medical field with over 25 years of professional experience. He is a consultant for many South Florida Rehab centers. Patients travel from allover the US to seek his help with addiction and Hepatitis C treatment.
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