Why Is It Important to Consider Addiction a Disease, Rather Than a Habit?

Addiction is a complex and pervasive issue that has long been misunderstood and stigmatized in our society. We have long-held beliefs about addiction being a moral failing and a sign of poor character, but recent advances in medical science have helped to reframe our understanding of this disorder. Addiction is now widely considered a chronic brain disorder and is treated as a medical condition.

It is important to recognize addiction as a disease, as this will help to reshape our attitudes and behaviors towards those struggling with addiction and create more effective recovery solutions. If you are looking for help and are done searching for “drug addiction treatment near me,” we are here to help.

Drug addiction can be difficult to overcome on your own; professional help can make a big difference. If you’re struggling with drug addiction, don’t hesitate to seek help. Contact the Recovery Center of the Carolinas for drug rehab in Fayetteville, NC today to learn more about your treatment options.

For now, let’s dive in to know why it’s essential to consider addiction a disease!

What Is Addiction?

To fully understand the concept of addiction, it is important first to define the term. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as a chronic, brain disease that is characterized by an inability to control using a substance, despite the negative impact this substance may have on someone’s life.

Addiction is a complex disorder that is influenced by a variety of factors. These factors can be divided into three broad categories: biological, psychological, and social. Each of these categories contains individual components that work together to create addiction.

Because these components are so closely related, understanding each can help us better understand the causes and consequences of addiction.

For example, someone who struggles with an addiction to opioids may also experience co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, or a traumatic brain injury. These disorders are often related to each other, and treating each as a separate condition can make it more difficult to address each issue effectively.

The Biological Factors of Addiction

It is important to understand that addiction is not a choice but rather an illness with a physiological basis.

Here are some of the biological factors that may contribute to an individual’s likelihood of developing an addiction.


Genetics plays a significant role in the development of addiction. Studies show that people with a family history of addiction are likelier to develop an addiction. While genetics do not automatically indicate addiction, they increase the risk of developing it.

Brain Development 

The brain is not completely developed until a person is in his/her mid-20s. While brain development occurs throughout childhood and adolescence, it is most significant during these years. This can be both positive and negative, as substance abuse is the most common cause of significant brain injury worldwide.

The Psychological Factors of Addiction

Psychological factors also play an essential role in the development and manifestation of addiction.

Negative Outcome Expectancy

This refers to one’s belief in the outcome of a choice. For example, if a person chooses to drink alcohol, they may believe that this will result in fighting with their partner, getting in a car accident, or losing their job. When a person chooses to engage in addictive behavior, they may believe this will result in legal trouble or having their friends or family disown them.

Environment and Stress

Environment and stress can also play a role in the development of addiction. For example, someone who experiences trauma or lives in a stressful environment may become increasingly likely to abuse drugs or alcohol to reduce their stress levels.

becoming addicted to substances can be seen as a coping mechanism

The Desire to Feel Good

Humans crave pleasure and are drawn to activities that bring us happiness and pleasure. Certain substances, like opioids, can release chemicals in the brain that can make us happy and relaxed. However, this feeling is short-lived and often followed by sadness and cravings for more substance. This is why many people continue to use these substances despite their negative impact on their life.

Mental Health Disorders

People who struggle with drug addiction also suffer from mental health disorders like depression or anxiety. These disorders are often related, making addiction treatments more difficult to implement.

The Social Factors of Addiction

Finally, social factors play an important role in the development of addiction.

Availability of Substances

The more accessible a substance is, the more likely an individual will use it. For example, opioids are extremely addictive and dangerous when used without a prescription. However, they are also effortless to obtain due to the large number of people who receive prescriptions for the drug each year.

Acceptability of Substance Use

The more acceptable a specific substance is in society, the more likely an individual will use it. For example, alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance globally.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is often associated with teenagers and young adults, but it can easily occur at any age. When an individual is surrounded by people who regularly use substances, they have a higher chance of developing an addiction.

The Benefits of Recognizing Addiction as a Disease

As we have seen, addiction has many biological, psychological, and social elements. By recognizing it as a disease, we can approach the disorder as a collective of these factors and create more effective treatment plans.

It Reduces Stigma

One of the biggest benefits of claiming addiction as a disease is that it reduces stigma. By viewing addiction as a chronic condition, we are less likely to judge those struggling with addiction as morally reprehensible and more likely to provide them with adequate treatment and support.

It Creates a More Effective Model For Recovery

We can develop more effective recovery methods when we recognize addiction as a disease. For example, treating addiction as a disease allows for treatment to be covered by health insurance. This helps to reduce barriers to treatment and makes recovery more accessible.

Reach Out for Help for Drug Rehab in Fayetteville, NC

If you or your loved one is fighting drug addiction, it is important to know when to seek help. Addiction can be difficult to overcome, but it is possible with the exact treatment and support. Here are some signs that it may be time to contact our clinic for drug rehab in Fayetteville, NC.

  • You have been using drugs more frequently or in larger amounts than you intended to.
  • You have been neglecting your home, work, or school responsibilities due to drug use.
  • You have been engaging in risky behaviors, such as driving while under the influence of drugs.
  • You have been experiencing financial difficulties due to your drug use.
  • You have been experiencing legal problems due to your drug use.
  • Your relationships have been affected by your drug use.

If you (or a loved one) are facing any of these signs, you must seek help. Drug addiction is a problem that can have lasting consequences. However, you can overcome your addiction and start living a healthy, drug-free life with our help!

Reach out to us today and let’s discuss a personalized drug addiction treatment plan for you!