Is Addiction a Disease?

Jun 1, 2023 | Addiction, Adolescent Treatment, Adult Treatment, Substance Abuse

Yes.  Chemical dependency and/or alcoholism is a disease that affects all aspects of a person’s life.  One of the reasons that Chemical Dependency and/or addiction is categorized as a disease is that it has all of the following characteristics of diseases.

Chemical Dependency is the Primary Cause of the Problems- When a person is addicted to drugs, he/she begins to have a lot of problems that are caused by the addiction.  For most drug addicts, these problems go away when they quit doing drugs and enter into recovery.  (It is important to note, that some people have both Chemical Dependency and mental health issues.  When this occurs, both issues must be addressed in order to ensure that they heal.)  Some of the areas that are frequently affected by Chemical Dependency include:

  • Change in Personality – Drug Addicts frequently begin to experience significant personality changes when they are using drugs.  They often become secretive, unpredictable, and unreliable when they are using.  The person you “used to know” before they became addicted begins to disappear in front of you as they use.
  • Change in Values – Drug Addicts frequently lie to cover up the amount and frequency of their drug use.  A person who normally would be honest begins to be able to “look you in the eyes” and lie to you when they become addicted.  Most drug addicts lie in order to protect their access to drugs.  Anyone or anything that threatens their ability to use is seen as the problem.
  • Change in Moods – Drug Addicts can be very moody.  This often occurs because of the feelings of shame they experience because of their addiction.  To hide their shame, they may become defensive and start blaming those around them for all of the problems.  In fact, Drug Addicts frequently become angry when they are confronted about their drug usage or their changes in behavior.
  • Change in Relationships – The first place where the effects of Chemical Dependency appear is in relationships.  The lying, mood changes, withdrawal, and personality changes all take a toll on relationships.  Many marriages, families, and relationships are torn apart because of the disease of Chemical Dependency.
  • Change in Level of Functioning – Drug Addicts have trouble maintaining their ability to perform at their previous levels of functioning.  They may begin to have legal issues (i.e. DUI) or work performance issues (i.e. tardiness or increase in absences).
  • Change in Physical Health – Chemical Dependency takes a toll on the body.  Physical issues include hypertension, heart problems, weight issues, liver failure, and brain damage.
  • Change in Spiritual Health – Drug Addicts tend to become disconnected from everyone and everything, including their spiritual selves.

Chemical Dependency is Chronic – Once a person has become addicted to drugs, they will always be an addict.  There is no going back to occasional using.

Chemical Dependency is Progressive – If left untreated, Chemical Dependency gets worse over time.  Drug Addicts don’t “grow out of it” or “go through a phase” of using drugs.  The disease of addiction progresses something like this:

  • Stage 1 – Live and Use
  • Stage 2 – Use and Live
  • Stage 3 – Live to use
  • Stage 4 – Use to live

Chemical Dependency is Fatal – Because Chemical Dependency is progressive and chronic if left untreated, it does lead to death.  Death may come quickly via a motor vehicle accident or slowly as the body wears down.


New Dimensions Can Help!

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, New Dimensions can help.  Our multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals can help you overcome the challenges that come with addiction and help you develop the skills you need to thrive.  To learn more about how we can help you or a loved one, contact us at 800-685-9796 or visit our website at

New Dimensions offers Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs for adolescents and adults who are struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues.  We have programs in the greater Houston area.  We also have virtual online telehealth treatment programs for adults who reside within the State of Texas.

New Dimensions also offers Interventions for individuals who need help, but who are reluctant to seek treatment.  To learn more, contact us at 800-685-9796.

New Dimensions provides Outpatient Drug Rehab to adolescents and adults in Houston, Katy, The Woodlands, Clear Lake, League City, Friendswood, Galveston, Pearland, Pasadena, Baytown, Spring, Conroe, Kingwood, and surrounding areas.