Understanding the Disease of Addiction
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines disease, from the French root “des,” without, and “ease,” as a condition of the living animal or plant body or one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms. Modern science now looks upon substance abuse and chemical dependence as a disease as well as a disorder. The reasons are based on an alignment of criteria based upon five principal components for “terminal disease” classification: the condition has a recognizable pattern, is chronic, progressive, subject to relapse, and treatable.
Treatment for addiction is built upon addiction as a disease. Many believe substance abuse and chemical dependence are some of the worst terminal disease. It has widespread effects on proximal relations (spouses, siblings, friends, etc), and the ever widening circle of dark influence destroy the life beyond the addicted individual. Thankfully, diagnosing and treating addiction is possible.
The rate of relapse is much less in patients who receive a team approach to treatment, with family and friends as well as qualified addiction counselors and physicians. In the case of Bradford Health Service – a reputable treatment facility with offices around the southeastern U.S. – family programs are an essential aspect of their approach, with family members strongly encouraged to learn about the disease of addiction and join the patient on their path to self-discovery.
Just like any disease, a disciplined approach to addiction treatment includes a follow-up schedule with a strong emphasis on continuing care as necessary for complete recovery. Indeed, holistic programs now guide people addicted to drugs and alcohol through less orthodox programs, like yoga, meditation, art therapy, and nutritional education. The idea is to arrest the disease and rebuild the patient from the inside out, just as if they’re recovering from any other terminal illness – and move from self-destruction to self-preservation.