Why do we consider addiction a disease?

Most modern medical associations and health practitioners are now used to viewing drug and alcohol addictions as a chronic disease. While this may be old news to those in the treatment field, it can still be a bit confusing for the average citizen. How is drug addiction like a disease, and why do we benefit from viewing it that way?

“Like diabetes, cancer and heart disease, addiction is caused by a combination of behavioral, environmental and biological factors. Genetic risks factors account for about half of the likelihood that an individual will develop addiction.”

Center on Addiction

The main idea to remember about addiction being considered a disease is that addiction changes the physical and chemical pathways in the brain, and as a result of this drug use becomes compulsive. It is these brain changes that make the substance user feel that they have no control over whether or not to use the substance. 

Here is a good video that explains this idea in some more depth:

Because addiction is a chronic disease, it means that treatment efforts must be ongoing. An addict is never fully recovered, and to avoid all-too-common relapses treatment plans need to be modified and adjusted as the patient responds. This is similar to the way many other chronic diseases require ongoing care and attention to prevent relapse.  

By viewing addiction as a disease, healthcare practitioners are able to create better treatment plans that take into account the whole person that is struggling with the disease. This view also helps to remove some of the stigma around addiction, and encourages those with substance abuse disorders to seek professional help from qualified agencies.

The start of it all: Founding Divine Healthcare Services, Inc.

Divine Healthcare Services, Inc.(DHCS) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which has been providing substance abuse treatment and case management services to the residents of Los Angeles County since 2008. Realizing the need for substance abuse treatment program which could provide the breadth of services necessary for an individual or family to fully recover from the ravages of addiction; and seeing that many clients went to one location for substance abuse treatment, and different locations for other services such as parenting education, anger management and youth/adult vocational development services; our founder and some of his colleagues working in substance abuse treatment in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County decided that a one-stop center for all the services will benefit the residents of Inglewood, California and the surrounding community.

4 things that make Divine Healthcare Services different from other drug & alcohol treatment centers.

  1. At Divine Healthcare Services, Inc., “We Listen” and use Evidence-Based Practices (EBP) thus The ASAM tool for Assessment to determine the level of care placement while using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Motivational Interviewing (MI) to educate and motivate clients with a focus on their individual needs.
  2. We practice a client-centered treatment model where every treatment plan is tailored to each individual client based on the result of their assessment. We do more of listening, educating and motivating thus encouraging clients to remain focused on their treatment and recovery.
  3. We also provide free transportation for clients to get to and from treatment making it more convenient, supportive and encouraging to stay in treatment. 
  4. All services are provided in both English and Spanish.

How to know if Divine Healthcare Services is right for you or your family member.

Divine Healthcare Services, Inc. envisions a world where communities can pursue social, economic, and educational wellness-free from alcohol and other drugs and their negative effects. Our mission is to engender positive change in the lives of substance abusers and their families through a holistic continuum of services, and we also understand that treating the whole person, indeed the whole family provides much greater benefit toward the long term recovery of the individual. Divine Healthcare Services, Inc. operates from the philosophy that addiction is a life-long and life-imbruing disease permeating the individual and family across all life domains, and across the life span. DHCS was born of this philosophy-providing substance abuse treatment, case management, parenting education, anger management and youth after school programs with our goal being to create positive change not only in individual families but in the entire community in which we operate.