Watching a family member or a friend go through life addicted to drugs or alcohol can make you feel helpless because you do not know what to do for them. You may think that being addicted is just a bad choice that they have made, and that reversing the decision will make things all better. This is definitely not the case. Prolonged use of drugs or alcohol not only becomes a physical problem, it becomes a chronic disease. The substance abuser is not aware of the damage that taking place inside the body.

Addiction affects the body physically and mentally

Addiction can be caused by the combination of biological, environmental, or behavioral factors like other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. Most medical associations define addiction as a disease. This includes the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the American Medical Association. The likelihood that a person will become an addict can be based on their genetic risk factors. This accounts for nearly half of the addicted substance abusers. Not only can addiction change the body, it also changes the brain. If addiction goes untreated, the consequences can be a physical or mental disorder.

Using drugs is a choice before it becomes an addiction

When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they give no consideration to the harm that is caused, they want the substance no matter what. Illegal drugs are not the only substances that people become addicted to. A large population is addicted to prescription drugs like opioids, and other legal drugs. People try drugs for the first time and think that they can control it. The brain is designed to make you want to repeat that which makes you feel good. So, the addiction is easy.

Addiction changes the brain

You have the sensation of pleasure when basic needs are met. This is caused by the brain’s release of certain chemicals. When addictive substances are used, they cause the brain to release higher levels of the chemical. Addiction causes changes in the total brain system from continuous release of the higher level of chemicals. When these changes take place, the addicted person may need the drug to feel normal. The user may start to prefer the feeling from the substance rather than other pleasures such as hunger, sex, or thirst. This will cause the person to have a loss of interest in the activities of a normal life.

Addiction is a chronic disease because it is a long-term illness that is not cured, but it can be treated. Naples Addiction treatment center specializes in addiction treatment, and the affect it has on the brain. Addiction is a mental disease. If it is not treated, the consequences of the substance use can be severe, causing major harm to the body and the brain. The choice to use drugs initially is from will power, and if the use is short term, will power may work to stop the use. Once the brain has been changed by the substance, will power no longer exists. It takes medical treatment and long term follow up to abstain from the substance use. People choose to use drugs and alcohol, but they do not choose how their brain responds to the substance use.

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