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Addiction is a Disease: Not a lack of willpower!


1. A disordered or incorrectly functioning

organ, part, structure, or system of the

body resulting from the effect of genetic

or developmental errors, infection, poisons,

nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity,

or unfavorable environmental factors; illness;

sickness; ailment.

2. A pathological condition of a part, organ,

or system of an organism resulting from

various causes, such as infection, genetic

defect, or environmental stress, and

characterized by an identifiable group of

signs or symptoms.

3. A condition or tendency, as of society,

regarded as abnormal and harmful.

"They chose to start drinking and using

drugs! Now they need to choose to stop!

They just don't want to!"

That's probably the most common comment

I hear from those uneducated about this

disease. I've heard this from licensed

professional health care providers, politicians,

hairdressers, university professors, school teachers, ministers, police officers, and even the occasional "rocket scientist".

Is this REALLY a disease someone has chosen?

I'll give you the first sentence above. They DID choose to "try" drugs or alcohol. But did they choose to become addicted? I certainly didn’t. The development of addiction(s) is a genetically based and environmentally induced (stress, poor coping skills, and a mood altering chemical or activity that relieves the stress). The changes take place over a period of time (sometimes fast...sometimes slow) and aren’t usually recognized until things become “really bad”.

Follow the links to the right for more information regarding the disease process.

Signs of Substance Abuse and Addiction in Health Care Professionals

Do you have an alcohol problem?

Sex Addiction


Do you have an addiction problem?

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The Impact of Addiction Can Be Far Reaching

To the Addicted Nurse

Substance Abuse Costs Our Nation More than $484 Billion per Year

Diabetes costs society $131.7 billion annually

Cancer costs society $171.6 billion annually