When people hear addiction is a disease, a normal first response is, how can something that starts with a choice be a disease? We understand that question. Think about this… Type 2 diabetes is a disease right? Did they cause it? Maybe. It’s known to be a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental influences. The same can be said of cancer really. There are people that carry the gene for cancer that get it and there are people that don’t carry the gene for cancer that get it. It too is a disease defined by genetic predisposition and environmental influences. The same is true of Drug and Alcohol Addiction. Yes, you have to try drugs or alcohol to become addicted but not everyone that tries drugs or alcohol will become addicted. Many have a genetic predisposition to it. That being said, even some that do not have a genetic predisposition to it can become addicted if the right environment is present. Science can now study through brain scans the differences in people with addictive tendencies versus people without when they drink or use drugs.
Don’t take our word for it. There are many incredible websites full of information out there. Read more on the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s website. The disease model as well as the harmful affects of drug use, prevention models and treatment are all discussed here.