There is no one answer to the question as to whether drug addiction is a disease. Some people believe that it is, while others think it is not. There are arguments for both sides and we will leave it to smarter, more qualified scientists than us to work it out – however, I am going to explore the common patterns that we notice at Connection Based Living that seem to be universal in most people’s addiction experience that comes through our practice.

The disease concept, is it real?

I personally believe addiction isn’t a disease. From the research and evidence, the answer to this question seems inconclusive. However in saying this, many of the elements described in the disease model ring true.

I have seen many people attempt recovery from addiction and enrol in rehabilitation with the hope of finding recovery, however, they continue their addictive behaviours despite negative consequences and not wanting to be addicted anymore once leaving rehab. There is something deeper than just willpower at play here and this is what we focus on at Connection Based Living. Whether this “deep element” is a disease or not, no one can be 100% sure. In this article, we will point you to some of the most credible people on either side of the argument.

What is the greatest danger of viewing drug addiction as a disease?

Connection Based Living’s founder Jack Nagle hosts a podcast called “Real Drug Talk”. In episode 9, “All Things Alcohol & Drugs And Why Addiction Isn’t A Disease”, Jack speaks with one of Australia’s leading Professors, Steve Allsop, about why addiction isn’t a disease.

Professor Steve Allsop has many essays describing drug addiction is not a disease and explains all his ideas in the podcast below:

Is Alcoholism and Drug Addiction a Disease? – Russell Brand seems to think so. 

Russell Brand is one of the most famous “recovering addicts” on the planet and is a huge proponent of the 12-step program, which first invented the theory of addiction as a disease.

Russell Brand experienced addictions to heroin, sex and other drugs. Russell Brand is very vocal about how understanding addiction as a disease helped him to have forgiveness for himself and start the process of finding recovery.

We highly recommend you check out his book “Recovery”, in which he presents various stories of drug addiction. To grab a copy of his book and find out more about why people believe addiction is a disease click the link below:

Our Experience

At Connection Based Living, we don’t view addiction as a disease as we have helped hundreds of people that have had severe addictions to change their relationship to alcohol and drugs and social use substances.

This experience obviously is counter-intuitive to the old adage “once an addict, always an addict”. This doesn’t come without hard work and sacrifice, and is also not always suitable for everyone; however is more than possible for many people.

Connection Based Living understands addiction as a series of ingrained negative behavioural patterns, negative emotional patterns and negative belief systems about self.

In order to help people transform out of addictive patterns, we need people to acknowledge that their substance use got out of hand and they need to stop for a period of time.

Once stopped, we can then help them shift their ingrained negative behavioural patterns, negative emotional patterns and negative belief systems about self. This helps people change their relationship with self which in hand changes their relationship with substances.

If this way of approaching addiction sounds of interest to you and you are looking to make some shifts around addictive patterns, we recommend that we have a chat.

Connection Based Living offers free consultation sessions in which we can help you discover the best way to support you or your loved one. To book a free consultation you can click the link below:

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