Is Addiction a Brain Disease?

IsAddiction a Brain Disease?

IsAddiction a Brain Disease?

Opinionon this issue before completion of the information gathering

Addictionis not a brain disease since it results from voluntary participationin addictive activities and events. It is a result of continuous useand abuse of substances or at times, engagement in harmfulactivities. Substance abuse, which is the most common normally leadsto addiction that in the long run hijacks the normal activity andperformance of the brain. This leads to the distortion of the normalfunctioning of a person. Addiction, just like a disease cannot bestopped without medical treatment. However, unlike a disease,addiction results from a voluntary activity by an individual.Therefore, addiction cannot be viewed as a brain disease. Unlike madpeople, a drug addict should not be viewed as a person having a braindisease [ CITATION Ala14 l 1033 ].


Addictionis a brain disease. As much as it results from a voluntaryengagement, people addicted to drugs, and other substances do nothave full control over their emotional and cognitive functioning. Individuals are often warned of getting involved with thosesubstances that are harmful to their health. As such, if a personheeds to the warnings given by medical practitioners and otherconsumer regulatory agencies and groups, the addiction can be easilyavoided. By avoidance of the addictive substances and activities, aperson will live a normal life. However, an individual who is alreadyaddicted to substances is not able to overcome their addictionswithout medical help. Just like other brain diseases, addictions areembedded in the behavioral and social context aspects which are animportant part of the disorder. An addiction as such can be seen asa chronic illness and relapsing of the brain [ CITATION Web16 l 1033 ].

Informationthat helped to reinforce the opinion or change mind

Addictionchanges the functioning of the brain, and as such, it is viewed as abrain disease. Substance abuse changes the structure of the brainaffecting how it works. The brain changes are at times long-lastingleading to harmful behaviors by addicted people. Due to brain changesresulting from addictions, it can be viewed as a brain disease.Therefore, it can be seen as a complex illness. This is because itforces the brain and the body to compulsively use harmful substancesfor proper operation regardless of their consequences to the healthand well-being of a person or at worst, their survival. An alteredbrain is a symptom of chronic illness and as such, addiction is abrain disease [ CITATION NCA16 l 1033 ].

Informationfrom the opposing position that is most difficult to counter

Changesin the brain as shown and scans done on the brains of addicted peopledoes not entirely translate to malfunctioning of the brain. Thebrain is always changing both in different regions and in itsneuronal pathways which age growing and being strengthened. At times,the brain creates new connections as the different brain areas becomeless or more active. This depends on how a person is using thespecific parts of the brain, thus creating the norm of the brain.With every adjustment of the brain based on thoughts and actions, theoperations of the brain change. This process continues throughout anindividual’s life thus there is nothing abnormal about changes inthe brain of a substance user. Looking at these alterations, ascompared to that of a non-user, the difference is not unique. Thispours water on the notion that addiction is a braindisease [ CITATION Ala14 l 1033 ].


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NCASA. (2016). Addiction as a Disease. Retrieved from

WebMD. (2016). Drug Abuse, Addiction, and the Brain. Retrieved from Substance Abuse and Addiction Health Center: