What is Addiction?
The Disease Model of Addiction Explained

The Disease Model of Addiction is a heavily researched and proven definition of addiction as a “chronic and relapsing brain disease.” A chronic disease is defined as an illness or ailment that can be effectively treated but never entirely cured. Addiction is a brain disease because it alters the neural pathways in the brain, telling the brain that the body needs drugs or alcohol.

At Princeton Detox & Recovery Center we work to educate our clients and their loved ones on the Disease Model. Understanding this model is extremely important when it comes to effectively and thoroughly treating substance abuse and dependence. Understanding the concept is also an important part of breaking the stigma that surrounds addiction. For decades, people mistakenly believed that individuals who struggled with addiction were simply weak-willed or morally corrupt.  Now, science has come to understand that addiction is a condition of the brain and body that does not occur in all people. When addiction is treated as a disease, in a medical treatment facility that thoroughly understands the condition, the outcomes are significantly more successful.

At Princeton Detox & Recovery Center we take a scientific approach to drug and alcohol treatment. We use evidence-based treatment methods to set up our clients for continued success in sobriety. To learn more about our comprehensive detox program, contact us today.

About the Disease Model of Addiction

When a person repeatedly uses an addictive substance for a prolonged period of time, he or she is liable to develop a physical and psychological dependence. This means that drug and/or alcohol use becomes compulsive and uncontrollable. A person continues to use despite the immense consequences the addiction is having  on their life. The American Psychiatric Association states that “people with a substance use disorder may have distorted thinking and behaviors.” Changes in the brain’s structure and function are what cause people to have intense cravings, changes in personality, abnormal attitudes and other behaviors. Brain imaging studies show that addiction changes areas of the brain that relate to judgment, decision making, learning, memory, and behavioral control.

When learning more about the Disease Model it is important to understand why people begin using chemical substances in the first place, and why some people develop physical and psychological dependencies while others do not.

Why do people start using drugs and alcohol?

  • Self-medication – Individuals might start drinking or using drugs in order to self-medicate underlying issues (like undiagnosed or untreated mental illnesses or unresolved trauma/PTSD).
  • To feel good or feel better – Some people start using chemical substances if they are dealing with a high-stress situation or if they are going through a difficult time emotionally. They might want to numb what they are feeling or experience a respite from their current circumstances.
  • To improve their performance at work or at school – A person might begin taking a drug like a prescription stimulant to improve their performance at school and increase their ability to concentrate, for example.
  • Peer pressure – This typically occurs earlier on in life. A person might begin using a chemical substance simply because their peers are doing so, or because they are being encouraged by their peers and they want to “fit in.”
  • Curiosity – In some cases the reason behind substance use is as simple as an unshakeable curiosity about the effects of a certain drug or of alcohol.

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Risk Factors for Developing Addiction

Regardless of the reason behind substance use, an addiction can develop if certain risk factors are at play. These risk factors include underlying issues, genetic predisposition, environmental factors, consistently high stress levels, persistent personal problems and early use. The type of substance being used also contributes to eventual dependence.

Princeton Detox and the Disease Model of Addiction

Medical Detox & The Disease Model of Addiction

Once a person develops a physical and psychological dependence it becomes extremely difficult to quit without help. The brain tells the body it needs the drug or drink in order to survive. This is why seeking treatment at a medical detox facility is important. It helps individuals retreat from drugs and alcohol in a safe, comfortable setting with around-the-clock medical supervision. At Princeton Detox & Recovery Center we serve as the first step on the long-term journey of addiction recovery. In addition to providing our clients with a safe and pain-free detox experience, we lay a solid foundation for continued success in sobriety.

Understanding the Disease Model of Addiction is extremely important when it comes to medical detox. In order to effectively treat symptoms of withdrawal we must thoroughly understand the ways in which active addiction affects the brain, the physical body, mental and emotional well-being and spiritual wellness. At Princeton Detox & Recovery Center we work to thoroughly educate our clients and their loved ones on this model, explaining how addiction develops and how it can be effectively treated.

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Take the First Step

When you find yourself in the grip of drug and alcohol addiction, recovery can seem scary and impossible to overcome. At Princeton Detox & Recovery Center we understand the unique issues substance use disorder can present for clients and their loved ones. Our licensed medical and clinical staff’s primary goal is to provide every client with a safe and pain-free detoxification experience. Stop suffering and contact us to begin your personal journey of comprehensive healing today at Princeton Detox & Recovery Center.