Is Addiction a Disease or a Choice?
Is addiction a disease or a choice? The answer is yes!
The answer to the question of whether addiction is a disease or a choice is not so much an either/or as it is a both/and. When considering our mental health, we need to take body, mind and spirit into account.
Addiction starts with a choice.
No one sets out to be an addict. No one thinks, “Gee, I believe I’ll experiment with this substance, and hope that my use of it intensifies to the point where I cannot stop, and then it will ruin my life.”
But addiction does begin with a choice, either to experiment or to utilize a substance to try to escape or cope with something. That initial choice can escalate to addiction. Consider the trajectory—
- EXPERIMENTAL USE: trying substance once or twice.
- RECREATIONAL USE: using a substance socially, only with friends or at a party
- CIRCUMSTANTIAL USE: using a substance to escape or avoid personal problems or life circumstances OR using a substance to get through a challenging situation (taking caffeine-laced pills to stay awake to study for exams, for instance).
- INTENSIFIED USE: increasing over a long period of time. This describes the regular user who experiences ongoing symptoms because of their drug use (physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual).
- COMPULSIVE USE: True addicts cannot voluntarily give up their substance abuse. They can no longer choose not to use and suffer significant life and health issues as result of their addiction.
Look at those last two steps—intensified and compulsive. At some point in the trajectory, addiction is no longer simply a matter of choice. The decisions we make in life affect our brain chemistry. A choice to use a substance, and then the repeated use of that substance, impairs our minds. Chemicals in our brain begin impact us physically. All of it impacts us spiritually. It’s a snowball effect.
Choice escalated to include physical, biological, and spiritual components. Physical, biological and spiritual—it’s a disease. And you see it in the symptoms—and the impact addiction has on all areas of an addict’s life.
Both/And—Choice/Disease. It needs to be treated accordingly.
Addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Factors which contributed to the addiction will need to be confronted in treatment. Elements of the addiction—physical, psychological, and spiritual—need to be addressed.
At Honey Lake Clinic, our unique treatment programs specifically and deeply address all three spheres—spirit, mind, and body—offering each individual his or her greatest chance at recovery, wholeness and transformative growth.
At Honey Lake, we’re committed to providing you with compassionate care and the necessary tools to release addiction’s grip on your life. We’re here for you.
Our faith-informed model, experienced staff, licensed professional caregivers, individualized treatment, all in a beautiful and tranquil 1300-acre lakeside setting—what are you waiting for? Make the call. Regain control of your life today.