By some estimates, more than 21 million Americans struggle with substance abuse and addiction. Despite the millions diagnosed with addiction, it can be hard to define. Exploring the addiction definition, what causes addiction and how it can be treated can help you understand it better.
The Addiction Definition: What is it?
Addiction, first and foremost, is a disease. It’s not a choice, a moral flaw or a failing of any kind. In decades past, society looked down on anyone with an addiction. Today, however, we know that it’s an illness just like any other.
Addiction is a change in the brain. When addiction occurs, users often become single-minded about the substance they crave. The brain’s circuitry and reward system get rewired, and the focus of life becomes maintaining the addiction.
Often, individuals develop addictions to specific substances that are, by nature, highly addictive. Drug addiction and alcohol addiction, for example, are among the most common types. However, individuals can develop addictions to spending, gambling or even eating. Any type of addiction is dangerous because it prevents people from living a healthy, balanced life.
What Causes Addiction?
A wide range of factors can contribute to addiction. Just some of the components that can lead to the development of an addiction include accessibility, social environment, mental health and genetic predisposition.
Accessibility is a big factor, particularly when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction. If the substances are readily available, then individuals are more likely to try them and develop addictions. This is especially true for young people. Trying addictive substances while the brain is still developing is more likely to lead to addiction.
People’s social environment is also critical. If people are often around individuals who abuse substances, they’re more likely to see the behavior as normal.
Evidence points to a hereditary component for addiction, as well. This might explain why addiction commonly runs in families. Some people may be more likely, genetically, to develop substance abuse problems.
Mental health and addiction often share a link. Unfortunately, some individuals struggle with an untreated mental illness. These individuals are particularly likely to turn to addictive substances and behaviors in order to find relief.
How Can Addiction be Treated?
Although an addiction can be overwhelming, recovery is possible. However, solo treatment is often ineffective, and in some cases, it can be dangerous. Typically, the best chance of lasting sobriety is participating in an addiction treatment program.
This may start with a detox, but what helps people maintain sobriety is the drug and alcohol rehab that comes next. Overcoming addiction can require some or all of the following treatment methods and therapies:
- Group therapy
- Individual behavioral therapy
- 12-step programs
- Dual diagnosis and trauma therapy
- Family therapy
- Addiction education classes
If you or someone you know struggles with addiction, by this addiction definition, seek help as soon as possible. San Antonio Recovery Center in Texas can be a great option to help you embrace sobriety. Contact us at 866-957-7885 to overcome addiction and get on the road to lasting recovery.