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January 17, 2018

ADDICTION: BRAIN DISEASE OR CHOICE?

Tim Robinson Tim Robinson

Not everyone agrees on this topic, not even professionals. One thing that can be agreed on is the fact that no one that suffers from addiction sets out to become addicted. As a person continues to use, their ability to control usage decreases significantly. Over time, what once was “fun” now is a debilitating struggle.

In the past decade there has been a major increase in the scientific evidence that addiction is a transition from casual use to dependency. This transition is facilitated by a series of changes within the brain caused by repeated drug exposure. The symptoms of these changes in the brain are expressed through behavioral compulsions. The fact that the brain actually experiences change in function, and that these changes are manifest through behavior, makes addiction a biobehavioral brain disease.

People that oppose the idea of addiction being a disease tend to say that it is simply a lack of self-will, and that if the addicted person wanted to quit, they would; they place all the blame on choice, and do not consider biology at all. This type of brain disease is not new, and not exclusive to addiction.

Schizophrenia, severe anxiety, and even depression show themselves behaviorally, yet almost no one objects when a person says they struggle with these ailments. A person having a psychotic episode because of untreated schizophrenia is met with a measure of compassion and offered treatment. They are not told to suck it up, or to quit acting like that, and definitely not told that they should just choose to quit hallucinating and not act erratically.

Now, this is not to say that the person suffering from these mental health diseases and disorders does not have any responsibility in their treatment. The addicted person, just like one suffering from anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, type II diabetes, or lung cancer, has a responsibility if they are to recover. They must follow their treatment recommendations and guard against a return to an active disease state. If they do not adhere to treatment the behavioral symptoms will surely return. Consider the diabetic who became afflicted due to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. The fact that the person’s choices lead to their disease does not make them any less diabetic. Regardless of how they arrived at diabetes, they are still diabetic, and cannot simply choose to no longer struggle with maintaining a healthy level of sugar in their blood. However, if treatment is followed, maintained, and taken seriously, the person battling these diseases, including addiction, can be symptom free and live a life free from their active disease. Remission is possible, and happens everyday.

This all leads to a question: what is the best treatment for addiction? This side of the argument is riddled with debate. Some people say incarceration, others counseling. The spiritual say that a higher power is required, others a change in environment. Some doctors advocate for medical assistance, those who are not in the medical field demand abstinence. The real solution isn’t as easy as one choice. People are different. Just as the person who struggles with depression might recover through medicine, exercise, diet, counseling, or a combination of several, people who are addicted have different options. There isn’t a “cookie cutter” answer that works for everyone. The real solution is to utilize all these options appropriately, on an individualized, case to case basis, and preferably supervised under the care of a professional.

The good news is that because addiction is a disease, there is treatment, treatment that works. The choice comes when treatment is introduced. It’s a choice for someone to offer treatment, and it’s a choice to accept. The challenge is for everyone to choose compassion, choose to offer treatment, and choose to encourage those that are already recovering. Addiction is a biobehavioral disease, and people affected do recover.

Tim Robinson

CEO and Founder

Addiction Recovery Care

606.638.0938

www.arccenters.com

 

Comments  

0 #20 Sober Tax Payer 2018-01-23 20:36
Is self control not promoted at all here? This is such a millennial concept, to put out the idea that addicts all have a disease and they need a band aid. AA is great, it has been working for years. But to dish out the propaganda that every drug addict has a mental disorder, WOW. This nation needs GOD, not Big Pharma. Tax payers should not have to eat the costs of drug addicts' irresponsibilit ies. Note: if you do something over and over, enough times, YOU WILL GET ADDICTED! Does that make us ALL mentally ill? I think not!

Tim Robinson is a {CENSORED}, and he is getting rich from all these facilities. So many people know it. Sadly, a lot of people don't.
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+2 #19 lol 2018-01-23 00:44
Quoting Vera Hammond:
I can't believe this stuff I have been a nurse 30 years I have seen alot I felt the same way YES THEY MAKE THE CHOICE TO DO DRUGS BUT DO U THINK THEY WANT TO LIVE LIKE THAT THERE IS A ADDICTION GENE I HAVE SEEN PEOPLE THAT DO DRUGS NEVER REALLY GET HOOKED AND CAN STOP NEVER LOOK BACK AND OTHERS TRY FIRST TIME AND THEY ARE HOOKED JUST LIKE WEEK END ALCOHOLICS BUT WE NEED TO GET THE DRUGS OFF THE STREETS AND HELP THESE PEOPLE GET THEIR LIVES BACK ON GRACK SO THEY CAN BE PRODUCTIVE INDIVIDUALS AND HAVE SELF WORTH AND SELF RESPECT ,

I agree they need to get their lives back in order but not at the taxpayers expense. If it has to be with taxpayers dollars they should be rehabbed in jail. That way they have plenty to think about their mistake.
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0 #18 #gotbindizstreetz 2018-01-22 21:53
Also, no they might not requested to have cancer, but did they e very drink, eat, smoke, be around or exposed to anything that had CANCER relations?? I don't know, but addicts don't choose to continue choosing drugs, just can't not choose anything other than drugs cause that's all we know, COMFORT, in some situations even HEALING, cause the decisions that they've made haven't been the best ones, and there's noone with an UNDERSTANDING EAR to listen... "UNDERSTANDING BEING KEY WORD". YOUR tax dollars are going for whatever they going towards, you'll never like where they go, my question is this::??
What are you doing to make your community better, safe, aware???? Or are you one them that sets and says, "THEY better do something about the drugs??? OR, ITS SANE PEOPLE IN JAIL REPORT AGAIN OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!! Well how many trips circuit Court you make to ensure our ELECTED officials are doing their part, who are you HOLDING ACCOUNTABLE??? THE ones that REALLY DO have the position to make changes, or do you just BLAME THE DOPE HEADS, cause your not willing put the same time into going courthouse or volunteer at therapy centers that you are into talking down at others that are struggling??? If you'd took the 5 minutes you took to type on here and instead drove pair socks to a treatment center, YOU WOULD BEEN DOING YOUR PART...
ITS THAT EASY..... Even the churches have lost sight of the simplest thing... WITNESSING!!!! GOT FET OUT THESE CHURCHES, AND GET INTO THE STREETS!!! JESUS himself got results cause he was involved, hit the streets, graced his presence with lowest of low, prostitutes, leporcy, said he came for the WRECHES OF THE WRECH!!!!!
HELP SOMEONE TODAY!!! IT MIGHT HELP YOU MORE THAN YOU THINK.....
ITS AMAZING WHAT CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED WHEN NOONE CARES WHO GETS THE CREDIT!!!
DAN HARDIN RIP MY OL FRIEND
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+1 #17 #streetseatualive 2018-01-22 21:32
WOW!!!! These responses are the perfect glance into the uneducated thought process. Great article, if we're talking about recognizing there's PROBLEMS!!! (WITH A "S",PLURAL, MORE THAN JUST " ONE ISSUE", and that's why we're not seeing PROGRESS,RESULT S,WALKING TESTIMONIALS, CRUSADERS, the people that the community knew needed help, the ones that were forgotten about, where they since you've pulled in them from the streets and turned their life around??? NOT GOT CLEAN AND SOBER, but TURNED THEIR LIFE AROUND???? I'M appreciative to all and for all that has been put into the community to try help, I've used the services of ARC, started my different way of living there in their building. Unfortunately I also witnessed what our country, government, state government, and local government are using US that have drug problems are A LOT OF BUSINESS LEADERS are profiting grossly off our disease, and only to grab a pen and write another pill, this ones the one made to get you off the one they make that your already hooked on (WOW, TGEY MAKE THE PILL THATS ABUSED, AND THE PILL TO TAKE TO STOP TAKING THE OTHER PILL)... I went rehab, 29 days, and was billed $29,480.00 for less than month stay, while having use a food stamp card to eat, ohhhh that the facility made me sign up to get once arrived and admitted... 16 men in a house so 30 grand times 16......ohhhh, and has 5 facilities, so 80 HUMANS at 30 grand apiece, CHACHING!!!! Now that's some CASH!!! Especially considering most or all furniture, computers, food, services are all DONATED to an organization THATS making millions EVERY MONTH...PROFITS BEFORE PEOPLE..... YOULL NEVER GAIN A FOOT THAT WAY....
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0 #16 Here 2018-01-22 20:48
Quoting Choice:
My mother and brother did not choose cancer! They did not try a cancer cell and decided whether or not it would go into their body. No comparison. Stop it! I don’t agree with your needle exchange or narcan! Liberals quit taking my tax dollars and paying for your agendas.

Sincerely sorry for your loss, cancer is a physical disease, addiction is mental, that’s the key difference. Anxiety, addiction, depression these are mental diseases that can be treated, but they are diseases non the less, and both young and old are becoming addicted and dying from it. Like I said, “I’m truly sorry for your loss.” I think you’re just misunderstandin g things. I’ve had family members die from both mental and physical diseases. The thing about hard drugs is that it goes from mental to physical because of withdrawal from alcohol or drugs can kill you.
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+1 #15 Vera Hammond 2018-01-21 07:41
I can't believe this stuff I have been a nurse 30 years I have seen alot I felt the same way YES THEY MAKE THE CHOICE TO DO DRUGS BUT DO U THINK THEY WANT TO LIVE LIKE THAT THERE IS A ADDICTION GENE I HAVE SEEN PEOPLE THAT DO DRUGS NEVER REALLY GET HOOKED AND CAN STOP NEVER LOOK BACK AND OTHERS TRY FIRST TIME AND THEY ARE HOOKED JUST LIKE WEEK END ALCOHOLICS BUT WE NEED TO GET THE DRUGS OFF THE STREETS AND HELP THESE PEOPLE GET THEIR LIVES BACK ON GRACK SO THEY CAN BE PRODUCTIVE INDIVIDUALS AND HAVE SELF WORTH AND SELF RESPECT ,
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0 #14 Choice 2018-01-21 03:16
My mother and brother did not choose cancer! They did not try a cancer cell and decided whether or not it would go into their body. No comparison. Stop it! I don’t agree with your needle exchange or narcan! Liberals quit taking my tax dollars and paying for your agendas.
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-2 #13 Dr. 2018-01-19 23:07
Quoting Resident:
Label addiction a "disease", label a transgender male "female", label marijuana "medicine", label pornography "art", label welfare an "entitlement" -it doesn't make it so.

Modern minds are cultivated to confuse reality with social "norms". Pray for our Country!

You need your head checked, you do realize the reason folks know better now is because of science, statistics and good ol’ FACTS.
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+2 #12 Question 2018-01-19 16:01
How long will it be before you whiney liberals demand the government send all these disabled junkies a check? Idea ! lets legalize heroin then tax it. Don't forget the fentanyl.
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+4 #11 Resident 2018-01-19 00:23
Label addiction a "disease", label a transgender male "female", label marijuana "medicine", label pornography "art", label welfare an "entitlement" -it doesn't make it so.

Modern minds are cultivated to confuse reality with social "norms". Pray for our Country!
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+4 #10 Lol 2018-01-18 23:45
Once an addict, always an addIct. Just like alcohol.
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-7 #9 Ignorant 2018-01-18 21:26
It's amazing the ignorance towards addiction. Of all the medical research that has been done and still yet, more ignorant trolls can yak about "choices". This area has an extremely high rate of obesity and y'all are footing the bill for that too.. Heart disease, etc etc. Get educated! Just because we live in an area full of hillbillies with very little education doesn't mean we shouldn't TRY to inform ourselves. Jesus.
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-8 #8 Riley Burchett 2018-01-18 17:18
Notice how the ex addicts use their real names and all u keyboard warriors screaming about how Tim is wrong use silly one liners to hide behind. See, just because u say it’s a fact, doesn’t make it so. Doctors, medical professionals, addiction specialists, scientists..... .ppl with actual medical study and years of training have determined that it is a brain disease. They back it with things like mri’s and medical studies. They do these studies for years, then release their findings. They aren’t some keyboard jockey jus saying it’s a fact. An don’t get on here trying to argue ur point because unless you have actual medical facts to back your theory, it’s not relevant. What Tim does is a service to not only addicts, but the community as well. There should be more recovery centers. I don’t think it’s coincidence that we have more rehabs and recovery centers than ever before in this town, and more recovering addicts than ever before. Tim is right, there is no cookie cutter cure. If u quit simply by making that choice, good for u. My hats off to ya. But thankfully God created everyone differently. An I’m thankful for ppl who CHOOSE to help others instead of trying to tear them down. Y’all should be ashamed of yourselves. If not for spreading ur negativity, definitely for being a coward behind a keyboard. If ur gonna speak on the matter, standup an be heard, or sit down an shut up. It’s easy to throw shade when ur hiding in a hole.
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+1 #7 Money 2018-01-18 13:57
Once labeled as a disease the taxpayers will foot the bill for addicts bad choices. There will be recovery clinics on every corner of every city in America. With little to no success. My question is : Is this disease contagious? New trend, a business closes then replaced with rehab. The govt foots the bill on our tax dollars.
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+1 #6 Jason Sammoms 2018-01-18 03:36
Love this Tim. Medical detox, counseling, groups daily and AA has been my way out. Couldn't have done it without the counseling though. I was depressed over a tragic loss and had stores that grief up for 7 years masking it with opiate use. Lots of opiate use not even gonna lie. Counselors had me to open up and speak about it, even write a goodbye letter to my daughte. It was truly the most rewarding weight off my chest moment I had ever experienced. Then comes AA. Couldn't say enough about how much it has changed as a person. Keeps me honest and also letting go of all the things I had done asking God to remove them from me was awesome. Thanks again.
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+2 #5 Drugs 2018-01-18 02:18
IT'S A CHOICE. I agree that not everyone agrees with this. Most people do not agree with what you do either.
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+1 #4 Facts 2018-01-18 01:27
The key word in your article Tim is " Continue " ! There lies the choice!
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+1 #3 Facts 2018-01-18 01:22
Choice! Choice! Choice!!!
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+4 #2 Citizen 2018-01-18 00:12
This is Bull I have had familly members die of Cancer and Addiction is in no form in this category as a Disease it is a Choice that you make only kids that is Born from someone that is on drugs they are the ones I feel sorry for they do not have a choice but the parent does and it is their Choice not a Disease like people making money off them
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+5 #1 Agree 2018-01-17 22:49
I agree 100%, whether it’s drugs, alcohol, over eating, or tobacco, no one wants to intentionally die or ruin their lives, it’s simple, they need compassion and help. It’s choice that leads to addiction and it’s choices that lead away from it, no matter what it is. I just think people are super focused on drugs, and they forget how die per year from tobacco use, over eating and/or alcohol.
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