What is Addiction? What is Recovery?
- Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.
- It is considered a brain disease because substances change the brain’s structure and how it works.
- Brain changes caused by substance use can be long lasting and can lead to many harmful,often self-destructive, behaviors.
- Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.
- Like other chronic diseases, addiction involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.
Recovery is a process of change that permits an individual to make healthy choices and improve the quality of his or her life.
- There are many pathways to recovery. Individuals are unique with specific needs, strengths, goals, health attitudes, behaviors and expectations for recovery.
- Pathways to recovery are highly personal, and generally involve a redefinition of identity in the face of crisis or a process of progressive change.
- Furthermore, pathways are often social, grounded in cultural beliefs or traditions, and involve informal community resources, which provide support for sobriety.
Language is powerful — especially when talking about addictions. Stigmatizing language perpetuates negative perceptions. “Person first” langauge focuses on the person, not the disorder.
When discussing addictions….
Are you or a loved one struggling with mental health or substance use? We are here to help you on your path to health.