Health professionals argue that an incessant preoccupation with drugs or alcohol and a distorted way of thinking are actually manifestations of the body defending itself, putting the chemically dependent person to work so it doesn’t have to suffer without a dose of the substance it’s become dependent on. However, society has many other views. Some say it’s a compulsion for those who simply lack willpower. Others say it is the unbearable lack of social connection that causes some people to keep reaching for a chemical escape.
But regardless of how you define addiction, there are 3 unwavering truths that should be understood by everyone who is affected.
1. Addiction is chronic.
Addiction is a disease that generally progresses slowly. It is constant and lasts over a long period of time. Examples of chronic diseases include heart disease, diabetes, emphysema, and arthritis. Due to the disease’s slow and subtle nature, the chemically dependent person and people close to them may not always be aware of the negative changes being caused by drug use or alcohol consumption.
2. Addiction is progressive.
Substance use disorder is relentless, persistent, and pernicious. Left unchecked or untreated, the dependent person can move from the initial stage where substance use seems to be helpful and pleasurable into an uncontrollable craving and obsession. In the later stages of chemical dependency, the person may even start to suffer physical ravages. Many physical problems can also arise or become accelerated by continued use. The user’s emotional, mental, and spiritual stability is weakened and the dependency condition worsens over time.
3. Left untreated, addiction can be fatal.
If the person who struggles with addiction continues to use substances, the addiction will eventually lead to death. This can be in the form of an overdose, suicide, accident, or physical failure of the heart, kidneys, liver, etc. Continuous addiction never ends well for anybody and is the leading contributor to emergency room admissions.