What is Addiction/Substance Use Disorder?
The diseases of alcoholism and drug addiction are often referred to as chemical dependency and substance use disorders. The disease is both chronic and progressive. A person who has developed the disease of addiction will have it for life. This condition cannot be cured, but it can be treated. The physical, emotional, and social problems associated with addiction/chemical dependency continue to get worse, are often cumulative, and progress as the use of chemicals continues.
Chemically dependent/addicted people can control their disease by learning better ways to address their problems and by learning ways to avoid returning to the use of alcohol and/or drugs. By achieving an ultimate goal of abstinence, the addicted person can control the disease.
Left untreated, the disease may result in premature death from associated health problems, accidents or other traumatic events. Alcohol and drug addiction treatment has proven to be successful in helping individuals recover from their addiction.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. Disease is defined as an involuntary disability. The disease of alcoholism is often progressive and fatal. Alcoholism causes premature death through overdose, organic complications involving the brain, liver, heart and many other organs, and by contributing to suicide, homicide, motor vehicle crashes, and other traumatic events. Alcoholism is characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial.
What is Drug Addiction?
Like alcoholism, drug addiction is a chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. Drug addiction is a dependence on a street drug or a medication. Addicted individuals are unable to control their drug use and may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes. Drug addiction can cause an intense craving for the drug. Like alcoholism, it may cause premature death through overdose, and can cause serious, long-term consequences including problems with physical and mental health, relationships, employment and the law. It, too, is characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over use, preoccupation with the drug, continued use despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, (denial).