Addictive Disease

While we use the terms abuse and dependence pretty much interchangably on this website that is simply for convenience sake. There is a large difference between the two conditions.

Alcohol or drug abuse is defined as the conscious, inappropriate use of alcohol or mood-altering drugs resulting in some negative life consequences. Substance Dependence (addiction) is a clearly defined disease that primarily manifests itself in increasing loss of conscious control over use, with slowly and intermittently escalating consequences. For the last 50 years it has been viewed by the American Medical Association as a disease because it has recognizable symptoms, they will get worse over time, and if left untreated it can often be fatal.

Like most other diseases this one responds well to treatment with success rates quite similar to other chronic diseases. The most recent studies suggest that about 50% of clients served in treatment will experience at least a temporary remission of their disease as a result of their efforts. However even higher success rates are reported if you look at things like better physical and mental health, improved relationships, or decreases in criminal or violent behavior as indicators of success.

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