Calling drug addiction a disease means what for treatment?
As mental health care and society changes, drug addiction is seen more and more as a disease rather than a choice. Science has explored the mechanics of addiction and exposed the facts about how it works, what it does to a person’s body and why it is not a choice. With the labeling of addiction as disease, treatment has changed and is still changing to suit this new way of thinking. Moreover, ordinary people are starting to look at addiction treatment differently, which makes it easier for addicts and their families to approach the system without as much fear.
When a professional calls a condition a disease, the idea that treatment is medically necessary to health comes to the surface. Saying that treatment for disease is optional is not the norm, so drug addiction treatment is viewed in a different light when it is treated like a disease. When it is treated like a choice and not a disease, drug treatment loses its urgency.
Calling drug addiction a disease makes it, to varying degrees, more socially acceptable. That is not to say that society embraces drug addiction, but rather that treating addicts poorly becomes unacceptable. If drug addiction is a disease then the idea is that people should treat it with similar sympathy as people would treat other diseases. There is still stigma attached to it, but with the disease label, it gradually becomes easier to “come out” as an addict and seek treatment.
Modern society operates under the belief that treatment for diseases should be readily available. This struggle has its setbacks and there are those who fight back against this ideal, but it is the prevailing line of thought in developed countries. Therefore, if treatment for disease should be readily available and drug addiction is a disease, treatment for drug addiction should be readily available to addicts. Communities are already seeing this happening around them with clinics offering free drug treatment to those in need, insurance agencies covering addiction treatment and schools offering preventative education, much like with other avoidable diseases.
Treatment Should Be Regulated
It is very important that there be a standard of treatment when it comes to diseases. Now that drug addiction is known to be a disease, it is given the same scrutiny as other treatments for other diseases. No longer can institutions mistreat addicted and mentally ill patients under the guise of medical care. People who are treating addicts often do so under insurance companies and governments that require humane and effective methods.
Drug addiction was not always treated with the compassion and professionalism that it should have been. Things have changed. Addicts and family members can reach out for help with less fear of stigma and mistreatment than ever before in history. Call a professional to get the help you need, whether you need treatment as an addict or help as a loved one pulling someone through this disease. There are a variety of treatment methods available for everyone touched by this difficult illness.