By SUSAN LYNCH
Recently I had a discussion with a dear friend of mine about addiction. While we didn’t see eye to eye on the subject at hand it really got me thinking. The age old question is drug addiction a disease was asked of me, and I was quick to say “Yes, of course it is.”
My friend on the other hand made a very valid point; how is it a disease if you choose to do it? Well, here’s my two cents on the subject, but first here are a few definitions to ponder on while you read, and please consider yourself as you read them. I think in some form or fashion we are all addicted to something.
Addiction-the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.
Addicted- devoted or given up to a practice or habit or to something psychologically or physically habit-forming.
Addict- a person who is addicted to an activity, habit, or substance.
Now, before we talk about addiction I wanted to talk about a few other diseases. Starting with Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is a disease that in most people is caused from poor diet. Years’ worth of fast food, sweets, potatoes, breads, sodas, and lack of exercise causes our bodies to attack themselves. Our insulin levels will skyrocket, and bottom out because we have destroyed our body’s natural ability to produce the adequate amounts we need.
High Blood Pressure. While genetics can play a part in Chronic High Blood Pressure so can we. A diet high in salt, being overweight, and a lack of exercise are the three main factors that cause High Blood Pressure. Smoking and stress can also cause your BP to be abnormal.
Heart Disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Plaque build-up thickens and stiffens artery walls, which can inhibit blood flow through your arteries to your organs and tissues. Atherosclerosis is also the most common cause of cardiovascular disease. It can be caused by correctable problems, such as an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, being overweight and smoking.”
Drug Addiction: Web MD states it as clearly as I know how to state it- “Drug addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the drug addict and those around them. Drug addiction is a brain disease because the abuse of drugs leads to changes in the structure and function of the brain.”
You see, just like that diabetic continues to eat those Snickers bars even though they know that eating them will result in an insulin shot, or the person with high blood pressure continues to over salt their mashed potatoes, because well, let’s just face it, bland potatoes taste bad, an addict continues to use, knowing it is hurting them. When I talk about overcoming my addiction, I always tell people that I still have habits, they just aren’t to the same substances they used to be. I traded my drug addiction for a sugar addiction and type 2 diabetes. So, let’s be honest, just because a disease is self-inflicted doesn’t make it any less of a disease.