The question “is being an addict a choice?” is one you’ve likely heard before. You might already have your own opinion about the topic, but there is only one concrete answer.


What Is Addiction?

Addiction is a strong and uncontrollable compulsion to get and use substances such as alcohol, nicotine, over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications, illicit substances, and more. It is a complex dysfunction in the brain system that leaves individuals in a constant pursuit of a drug. It is extremely difficult for someone with an addiction to stop using a certain substance, even if their abuse has already caused negative consequences for them and their families.

There are many biological and environmental factors that contribute to addiction including genetic disposition, exposure to drugs at an early age, peer pressure, and trauma. Because many people don’t completely understand what addiction is like, there is a stigma around it.


When Is Someone Considered “An Addict?”

People who don’t have a substance abuse issue may feel out of control when they drink or use drugs. Those who struggle with addiction, on the other hand, feel more in control of themselves and their actions when they are using. This is why they may compulsively seek a substance.

Someone may have developed an addiction when they…

  • Are unable to abstain from a substance
  • Keep using despite having tried to quit
  • Display denial, deflection, and dishonesty
  • Engage in risky behaviors
  • Put their lives and their families lives at risk

Addiction can be very detrimental to the well-being of people who suffer from it. In turn, it can hurt others as well. It can bring on certain behaviors that most diseases don’t, so some people may believe that addiction is a choice.


Is Being An Addict A Choice?

While many people think that addiction is a choice, it is actually considered a brain disease. It can lead to a decreased quality of life and physical consequences, just like many other diseases. If more people understand that addiction is a disease, perhaps those who suffer from it will feel less guilt about their disorder.

Even though a person makes a “choice” the first time they use a substance, almost everyone drinks alcohol or experiments with a drug at some point. Some of them can use a substance once and move on, while others continue to use it and become dependent on it. Once someone’s brain becomes chemically altered by addiction, they lose their sense of power.


Fighting the Disease of Addiction

Addiction isn’t a choice, but recovery is. In order to cure this disease, everyone who has it must be motivated to change and get the help they need. The best way to treat addiction is to enroll in an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation program. In a program, those who suffer from addiction will get the resources and tools they need to help them get and stay sober. Treatment methods may include different types of therapy, financial and employment training, medications, and more.

If you would like to learn more about the basics of addiction and why it is a disease, feel free to contact our team of substance abuse treatment specialists at any time by calling 267.719.8528.