Brain in a cup being affected by addiction to give it disease

Addiction is a complicated disease. While an addiction happens as a result of your choices, quitting isn’t as simple as choosing not to be addicted to drugs and alcohol. You need more than willpower because the wiring of your brain changes your response to substances. It becomes harder to resist that drink, that joint, that needle.

When you have an addiction, you need more help than you can give yourself. Although you can’t control all your urges and simply choose to stop being addicted, you can choose to seek treatment. Then, you can move onto the path of recovery.

Are you tired of trying to escape addiction on your own? Seek help at Georgetown Behavioral Health.

What Is an Addiction?

An addiction is a disease that creates a dependence on a drug or alcohol. This need to use could be physical, psychological, or sometimes both.


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If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, you will notice some or all of the following symptoms.

  • Feeling a need to use drugs every day, possibly multiple times a day.
  • Strong urges that are so intense you can’t think of anything else.
  • As time passes, it takes more of the drug or alcohol to achieve the same effect you first felt.
  • Using more of the substance and doing it for longer than you planned.
  • Giving nearly constant thought to how you will maintain your drug supply.
  • Spending money you can’t afford on the drug.
  • Neglecting your responsibilities or abandoning opportunities for social contact so that you can use the drug.
  • Even if you see the problems it’s causing, you continue the drug use.
  • Driving under the influence.
  • Much of your time revolves around getting and using the drug and recovering from the drug.
  • Trying and failing to quit using alcohol or drug.
  • Going through uncomfortable or even dangerous withdrawal symptoms when quitting the drug.

The first step in getting help is recognizing that you need assistance in overcoming your addiction. Treatment from a team of professionals can make it possible for you to stop using and build a drug-free life.

What Makes Addiction a Disease?

One thing that makes any condition or disorder classified as a disease is that it has specific, discernable symptoms. As you can see above, addiction does have many symptoms. Another quality of a disease is that it is harmful or creates problems for the person who has it.

Also, a disease includes structural or functional changes. Of course, the brain has structure and function, both of which can be affected by addiction. Furthermore, a disease is not an injury, although injuries may result from drug or alcohol use when the substances cause you to engage in risky behavior.

Why Willpower Is Inadequate

Although willpower may help in some ways, it doesn’t offer much benefit for someone fighting addiction without treatment. Addiction alters your brain. Before you had an addiction, your brain released chemical neurotransmitters like dopamine to give you a good feeling. This reward came when you achieved something, gained something, or experienced other satisfying events.

However, substance abuse sets off the brain’s reward system once you have an addiction. So, you feel good when you take the drug or drink. Unfortunately, this condition doesn’t last. Instead, after you continue to use, it takes more and more of the substance to give you that same feeling.

Meanwhile, you are focused on getting the drug to maintain that high, which can cause extreme damage to your body, your relationships, and your work life. At that point, you might begin to see the need to stop using drugs or alcohol. Yet, it is tough to quit without expert assistance.

Willpower doesn’t help much since your brain works against you as you try to stop. You can’t override your brain’s neurotransmitters, so you continue to use the substance, even if you genuinely want to quit. You

There is one way, however, that willpower can help with addiction. You don’t have to maintain your resolve very long. If you have the willpower to ask for help, you can have a medically supervised detox before your urges to use take over. Then, you can get support, therapy, education, and professional help in a residential treatment center. You only have to keep up the willpower long enough to admit yourself to the hospital.

Could Treatment Be the Best Solution?

Suppose you recognize that you have a problem with drugs and alcohol. You realize that it is beyond your power to quit alone. Your mind may be filled with questions. Is it time to seek treatment? Is your addiction severe enough to warrant assistance? Will the cost be too high? Do you want to give up this thing that has made you feel euphoric, comforted, or energetic often?

Deciding to seek treatment is indeed a courageous choice, as well as a logical decision. But how do you know you have reached the point where you can’t quit on your own? Look back at the symptoms of addiction. You already have a mild addiction if you have two or three signs. In that case, treatment will help you avoid the destructive life consequences and physical problems that happen when the addiction worsens. The more of these symptoms you recognize in yourself, the more severe your disease of addiction is.

Detox is the only safe way to quit if you have a physical dependence. However, even if you use a substance with mild or no withdrawal symptoms, you will need support and education that you likely can’t get from friends and family. It would be best to be in an environment where you can’t use harmful substances. Beyond that, you can benefit from the therapies and discharge planning. After all, you need to prepare to stay sober out in the world after your release.

Questions to Ask About Your Addiction

6 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Addiction Infographic

As you contemplate your decision, it can help to analyze how the addiction affects your life. Ask yourself the following questions and spend some time thinking about how you would answer. It might be hard to focus if your addiction is severe, so writing it down can help. If you can answer these questions honestly, your decision might be easier.

  • Do I want to quit?
  • How is my addiction affecting my close relationships?
  • Has my work performance decreased?
  • Has buying the drug become a financial burden?
  • Have I tried as hard as possible to quit but failed?
  • Is there a reason I am hesitating to get help?

If you still aren’t sure, list the advantages of seeking treatment. Here are a few to get you started.

  • Going through withdrawals safely
  • Having professionals who understand how the brain works
  • Having a treatment team that recognizes your addiction is a disease
  • Participating in therapies that help you get sober
  • Being in an environment where you have fewer triggers to use the drug or alcohol
  • Learning from others who have been where you are in their addictions
  • Getting an education about addictions and how to overcome them
  • Getting the tools, medications, and support you need to succeed at quitting

You may think of many more reasons to seek treatment. If you are ready to start the journey out of addiction and into sobriety, the next step is to decide where to get treatment.

Where to Get Addiction Treatment in Ohio

Georgetown Behavioral Hospital offers drug detox, a residential addiction treatment option, and dual diagnosis mental health care. We only take voluntary admissions to our programs. At our behavioral hospital, you get a variety of therapies, as well as 24-hour psychiatric services. In addition, you can receive dual diagnosis treatment if you have both an addiction and a mental disorder. We accept many types of insurance, including Medicare and a long list of private insurances.

In the end, only you can decide to get help with your addiction. The more you understand that addiction is a disease, it becomes more apparent that doctors and therapists are best equipped to help you in the hospital. Make the right choice for you so that you can heal your body and your mind. Make the choice that will help you repair relationships and get your life back on track. You deserve to have a good life. Now may be just the time to pursue it!

Do you want to break free of your addiction? Contact Georgetown Behavioral Hospital to set up a consultation.

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