No discussion of the social implications of drug abuse and addiction can omit mention of the gap between what doctors and scientists tell us addiction is (a treatable brain disease) and what many politicians and much of the public believe it to be (a moral failing or ‘weakness’).
Although neuroscientists are working hard to unlock the mysteries of the human mind, much of what goes on in our brains remains poorly understood. That being said, scientists can clearly show that:
- The use of certain drugs and alcohol causes permanent changes in the brain
- Changes to brain function lead to cravings to use drugs or alcohol that can be difficult to resist
- These changes in the brain compromise our ability to resist temptations *
Although no one is forced to take drugs or drink alcohol initially, once a person becomes addicted however, free will and choice disappears from the equation - and it is because of this loss of conscious control that addiction treatment is often necessary. In time, the brain heals and normal function returns. Addiction treatment teaches proven strategies that help people resist what would be otherwise very difficult to manage temptations during this initial healing period.
Addiction Is Not Weakness
- Although you may feel ashamed of some of what you’ve done while addicted, you should not feel ashamed of your addiction itself.
- Although addiction does not imply weakness, fighting addiction does prove great strength of character - It takes courage and determination to get help for addiction!
Addiction treatment works. It’s proven to work as well or better as treatments for other common chronic diseases, like hypertension or diabetes. Don’t feel ashamed of your past, but make sure you can be proud of your future by taking the difficult steps necessary to begin the fight against the brain disease of addiction.
You’re not weak, no matter how much you drink or how many drugs you take – in fact you’re probably stronger than you think you are, and with help and with determination, you can make a change in your life!
Page last updated Sep 16, 2010