Like most diseases, addiction is destructive. It can damage areas of the brain that control memory, judgment, learning, motivation, or rewards. Also, it can cause severe terminal damage to various organs and systems throughout the body. And, like any other disease, addiction can disrupt families, finances, jobs, and personal life. Addiction is a disease that requires professional help to recover from so individuals can properly heal.
Like any disease, addiction is complex. Addiction is a disease that affects both the brain and the body, similar to any other disease. The only difference between addiction and other types of diseases is that it involves compulsive use of drugs or alcohol. Otherwise, addiction exhibits all of the characteristics of physical disease. Addiction treatment programs in Oklahoma care for clients much in the same ways as they do for any other disease.
Addiction is a Disease
The American Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Medical Association both categorize addiction as a disease. It has the following disease-like elements, including:
- It is caused by a combination of biological, environmental, or behavioral factors.
- Genetics plays a significant role in whether a person will become an alcoholic.
- Addiction affects various changes in body and brain function.
- If left untreated (i.e., therapy), addiction will require medical attention.
- If left untreated, addiction can lead to injury, disability, or fatality.
Although addiction is often viewed as a psychological problem (“It’s all in the mind”), it affects the mind and body like any other disease. As such, it needs to be treated like a disease. Furthermore, like any other disease, treatment needs to include preventative measures that keep it from coming back. For this reason, addiction treatment centers in Oklahoma provide aftercare to prevent relapse.
How Addiction Alters Brain Function
When the brain is satisfied, it releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine or serotonin, which produce feelings of pleasure. The same feelings of pleasure can also exist when the brain is relaxed or sedated. Alcohol produces both types of pleasure. When a person drinks, alcohol triggers the release of serotonin, producing feelings of immense pleasure.
Afterward, the alcohol binds to the brain’s GABA receptors, slowing down brain function. This causes the drinker to become relaxed. The more a person drinks, the more alcohol triggers brain function. However, it doesn’t take long before a person needs more alcohol to produce the same feelings.
As the drinker increases their alcohol intake, they may form an addiction, which eventually becomes a dependency. Regardless, a person may continue to abuse alcohol for months or years. This causes a slow decline in brain and body function.
Addiction is a Chronic Disease
Chronic disease is a condition that is both long-lasting and persistent. The disease also threatens to come back after the patient is cured. For example, cancer can threaten to return and plague the body after it has been removed. Alcoholism is similar in that there is always a threat of relapse.
Therefore, addiction is a potentially chronic disease. Addiction rehab centers in Oklahoma provide comprehensive care to prevent a relapse. However, nearly 40 to 60 percent of all clients that complete a treatment program end up relapsing at least once. Even clients who never relapse always face the threat of relapse throughout their recovery. Alcoholism can always come back regardless of strong the individual is.
Get Treatment for Alcoholism at Landmark Recovery
Individuals struggling with addiction need treatment and therapy customized to their needs. Learn more at Landmark Recovery. We offer comprehensive treatment for alcoholism and drug addiction. Contact our addiction treatment center in Oklahoma at 405.494.4239 and get started with your treatment program today. We are here to help you get on the road to recovery.