IS ADDICTION A BRAIN DISEASE?
The topic of addiction is a controversial issue that has sparked national debates over the recent past. Both sides of the debate bear opposing views with no signs of ever coming to an agreement. Regardless of the side anyone holds on, addiction remains to destroy not only the lives of the addicts but also those around them. In this paper, I analyze the factors that make addiction to be considered a disease, and investigate why some people oppose those factors.
In general, I argue that addiction is a brain disease. Starting with the primary definitions of an addict and a disease, I will analyze the issue from a biological standpoint. An addict can be defined as anyone whose life is controlled by drugs. All of our lives are centered in drugs in one way or another. We live to get, use and find means of getting more. We are a generation in the grip of a constant and progressive illness whose ends is always the same: institutions, jails, and death. In this form, all of us use drugs in our lives. However, what differentiates most of us from drug addicts are the levels of dependency we have on the drugs (Graham, 2015). Socially, the dependency on alcohol and drug is perceived as a sin or a disease. In the past few decades, addiction has been seen as a maladaptive behavior pattern. In my point of view, addiction is a combination of all the three. I define it as a disease in which normal people learn how to act in immoral ways.
It completely changes the behavior of those affected, with little chances of change. A drug addict lacks control of himself or herself and is most likely to engage in behaviors that defy social morals. A drug is a chemical agent that affects our biological function (Goodman, 2008). Some of the drugs act in the organs, some in the brain, and some in other parts of the body at the same time or different times. A psychotropic drug acts in the brain to alter the behavior, mood, and thought process. Addicts administer the drugs to themselves without prescription; compulsively, repeatedly, and self- destructively (Goodman, 2008). In the past, the addiction to drugs was perceived as a morally reprehensive conduct that the addicts could manage with commitments and sufficient effort. In today’s society, drug addiction is in many ways like infectious diseases; some people are infected, while others are spared. We have differing degrees of immunity. Our susceptibility to drug addiction is dependent on complex sets of environmental and genetic factors (Goodman, 2008). Most medical associations including the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Medical Association define addiction as a brain disease. They argue that like heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, addiction is caused by a combination of biological, environmental, and behavioral factors.
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), genetic risk factors are responsible for close to half of the likelihood that an …