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Is Addiction a Brain Ailment?

Addiction is an enduring and relapsing brain ailment that is considered as compulsive drug seeking and used despite of its harmful consequences. It is defined as a brain ailment because drugs cause damage to the brain and can cause problems in its functioning. The changes that occur in the brain can be lifelong and can lead to destructive behaviours seen in individuals who abuse drugs.


During an ailment, some part of the body fails to function normally and is in a state of physiological malfunctioning which causes the unsolicited symptoms. Moreover, it can get difficult for an individual to comprehend the regular tasks of the day.


According to The National Institute of Drug Addiction (NIDA, USA), the main reason addiction is considered an ailment is because the brain changes as evidence after a brain scan. These changes cause the behavior known as addiction, which is further characterized as ‘compulsive drug seeking and use.’


Some key arguments suggest that this evidence does not truly support the statement:

  • There is no difference in change during and after a scan and no abnormality is seen.
  • People change their behavior regardless that the brain has changed in response to repeated substance and it does so without surgery or medication.
  • There is no significant evidence that the behavior of addicts is compulsive, it rather is a choice.

Early recognition of an addiction is a benefit:

Early addiction recognition occurs at the first signs when a problem occurs – before anybody has suffered distressing event, lost important relationships, jobs, their health or self-respect. The recognition of an addiction can be done by a healthcare professional or even a family member. What happens after the screening is subject to the test. While some people learn to cut back, others need further assistance and treatment.


It is not an easy to live with an addict and hence it is crucial to start taking steps to begin their treatment as soon as possible. Though recovery can be a painful process it is the only route that holds a promise for a better and healthy life.


Approaches to help your dear one who is an addict/alcoholic:

  • The most direct approach is by organizing a formal intervention taken by everyone who cares about the person and wants them to change their life for the good.
  • The most powerful strategy is to stop reacting and be detached. This specially works when you are living with an addict and deal with them on regular basis.
  • The one thing that always resolves issues is an ultimatum. But it should not just be threat, you should stick to your plan and act on it otherwise it won’t work. It is very important to stick through the plan.
  • Another important thing is to protect yourself and others around from physical harm.

There are many treatments and ways to lead back to the right path. And most significantly. always remember there is hope!