by Restorations Therapy Center on Thursday, July 25th, 2019
People in recovery may be constantly told that their addiction is beyond their control because it is a disease. A disease, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms.” While it is true that addiction is a disease, a new study shows that constantly calling it a disease can be discouraging to those who want to recover.
It is true that addiction is a brain disease in that your neurological pathways become altered as a result of the drug you are taking that causes you to do or say things you would not normally do. Public health officials spread the message of addiction being a disease in hopes of decreasing the moral stigma, causing someone to stop blaming themselves for their actions and to get help.
According to the Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology study, telling someone that their addiction is a disease is another way of telling them that they cannot do anything about their addiction or it is out of their hands. The study said that sending a message to help people feel empowered and confident to change their actions is a more effective method to help them seek treatment.
214 Americans with substance abuse issues were recruited on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk website. They would answer questions like if they have felt guilty within the past three months about the amount they substance abused. 90 participants read an article about the nature of addiction such as the mechanisms in the brain that lead to the disease. The article quotes a Stanford researcher saying that addiction will remain stable over a person’s lifetime. The other 124 participants read a different article stressing the potential to change and how addiction can be managed with time and effort.
After reading each piece, participants answered questions about the likelihood of seeking counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and pharmacotherapy. Subjects felt like they were likely to try counseling and/or cognitive behavioral therapy after reading the second article compared to the first. This study concludes that addiction should not solely be seen as a disease, but more discussion should be about different reasons addiction occurs and for there to be more encouraging methods of seeking treatment.
Located in Centennial, Colorado, Restoration Therapy works with patients who are struggling with addiction, intimacy disorders, and trauma who are seeking treatment. In order to offer patients a more holistic view on healthy sexuality, Restoration Therapy offers individualized and group therapy, workshops, psycho-educational classes, and more to restore the harm brought on by addiction and intimacy issues. For more information, please call us at (720) 446-6585 as we are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.