In the past, society as a whole viewed addiction as a personal weakness or a lack of self-control. Today, however, we understand that addiction is a disease. It’s not a moral flaw, but a condition that can affect people from all walks of life.
The Clinical Definition of Addiction
After decades of scientific research, the clinical addictiondefinition is a primary, chronic disease. It affects the brain’s reward, memory, motivation and related systems. This dysfunction leads to psychological, biological, social and spiritual effects. It manifests as the uncontrollable desire to pursue reward and relief through using drugs or engaging in other behaviors that can cause harm.
How Do I Know If I Suffer From Addiction? The Clinical Addiction Assessment
If you feel you are unable to live a healthy life due to drugs, alcohol or other addictive behaviors, it may be time to seek professional help. One of the first steps of treatment is a clinical addiction assessment. During a clinical addiction assessment, the addiction professional will look for characteristics to diagnose the disease. Characteristics of clinical addiction include:
- The inability to consistently abstain
- Impaired behavioral control
- The inability to recognize significant problems with your behaviors and how these behaviors affect your interpersonal relationships
- A dysfunctional emotional response
The clinical addiction definition also includes a cycle of abstinence and use. Often, if you suffer from addiction, you’ll fall into a pattern of relapse and remission.
Why Professional Treatment Is Necessary
Addiction is a progressive condition that can lead to permanent disability or death if left untreated. That’s why treating addiction is crucial.
As addiction alters your brain, it affects your ability to make decisions. Without a properly functioning decision-making center, you’re more likely to engage in risky behavior, choose drugs over loved ones, and not perform at school or work. As you fall deeper into your addiction, you will be less likely to see the impact it is having on your life and loved ones. You will also deny your addiction more strongly, a common component of a clinical addiction.
Professional treatment for clinical addiction is necessary for recovery. Without treatment, you’ll continue using, putting your health and life at risk. Because clinical addiction actually alters the structure and function of the brain, quitting alone is extremely rare and not recommended.
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The Most Effective Addiction Treatment
Effective treatment helps you manage the symptoms of withdrawal, curb cravings and address co-occurring disorders. It gives you the tools you need to make the right choices for your life. It also helps you improve your relationships with your loved ones.
The most effective treatment uses a variety of modalities to address your specific needs, goals, interests and challenges. Just as no two people or addictions are the same, no two treatment plans should be. For the most successful recovery, you need a customized treatment plan that heals on every level: physically, mentally, psychological and spiritually.
However, even with treatment, relapse is a common occurrence. It doesn’t mean the treatment has failed. Just as there are some aggressive forms of cancer, some addictions are more aggressive than others. It’s important to keep going through the recovery process until you achieve full sobriety.
Get Help Today
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, don’t try to recover alone. Browse our list of top-rated rehab centers to find a program that might help you achieve long-lasting recovery and sober living.