The Disease of Addiction

The disease of addiction, like other diseases, is chronic and organic.

The disease of addiction has a target organ known as the mid brain. The cause is regulatory dysfunction of a neurotransmitter called dopamine.  The effect is a common group of symptoms seen in each and every alcoholic and addict known to have the disease of dependence:  loss of control, craving, and persistent use despite adverse consequences. Many alcoholics and addicts have been accused of selfishness, of choosing their behaviors for a reward or pleasure, since that portion of the brain targeted by alcohol has often been called the reward or pleasure center. This impression of hedonistic behavior on the part of the addict has for a long time caused inappropriate judgment, bringing shame to the one who suffers with this disease.

The family is very affected by the disease of addiction because the alcoholic or the addict will violate so many boundaries to get to his or her drug of choice.  Often they cast aside job, family, health, marriage and their notion of a Higher Power to get to the top of their survival pyramid - their drug of choice.

The disease of addiction, like other diseases, is chronic and organic. It sites the brain as its target organ. It relapses. It remits. It is cunning, baffling and powerful, but treated one day at a time, lasting recovery is the promise for each and every alcoholic or addict afflicted. All that is required is that they have the willingness to take the first steps. 

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