Is addiction a disease or a choice?

I keep hearing people say that alcohol and or drug addiction is a disease but that seems to be stretching the definition just a bit. Even if you are addicted and have a dependence on a drug, you're still making the decision to keep doing it.

Lets say you sit down at a table with a crack addict. You take out a couple pieces of crack and put them on the table in front of him. Then you take out a gun and tell him that if he touches the crack, you'll kill him. No matter how bad of an addict he is, he won't reach out and grab the crack because he knows that if he makes that choice he'll die before he even gets the drug into his system.

Now lets say you do the same thing to somebody that has diabetes. You take out a gun and tell them that if they don't control the level of sugar in their blood stream you'll kill them. They won't be able to stop because their 'disease' is completely out of their control.

To be fair, the definition of 'Disease' is: "a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms". But calling every 'condition' that impairs normal body functions a disease just seems way too broad. By that definition, if I get an ingrown toenail, that's a disease. If I get a sunburn and my skin starts to peel, that's a disease. If I decide to stop eating and begin to starve, I have a disease.

I think that for something to be classified as a disease it should have to be out of your control. What do you think?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Wow you certainly said a lot lol. I think that addiction is usually choice even if its drug related. Because they chose to start on it in the first place. My aunt was addicted to alcohol and it wasnt necessarily a disease. idk we all have our opinions.

  • 1 decade ago

    dis: not

    ease: at ease

    Disease is a process in which one is not at ease. Anything that is causing malfunction or discomfort is classified as a disease.

    Chemical addiction is not a choice. There becomes a physical dependency for it in addition to the psychological dependency. If people could "control" their addictions there would not be addicts. It's not a choice. Some contributing factors of addiction can also be genetic.

  • 1 decade ago

    It's both. It's a choice in that one CHOOSES to start to use or not to use mind altering substances. It becomes an addiction when your body feels physically ill (sweats, hallucinations, shaking, seizures, etc.) WITHOUT the drugs/alcohol in your body.

    Source(s): An experienced RN who's worked with people who have substance abuse/alcohol abuse disorders.
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