The NIDA is stating outright that the reason addiction is considered a disease is because of the brain changes evidenced by the brain scans they show us, and that these changes cause the behavior known as addiction, which they characterize as “compulsive drug seeking and use”.
There are three major ways in which this case for the disease model falls apart: This all applies equally to “alcoholism” as well.
You don’t hear people constantly referring to cancer as “the disease of cancer” – it’s just “cancer”, because it’s obvious that cancer is a disease, it’s been conclusively proven that the symptoms of cancer can’t be directly stopped with mere choices – therefore no qualifier is needed.
On the other hand, addiction to drugs and alcohol is not obviously a disease, and to call it such we must either overlook the major gaps in the disease argument, or we must completely redefine the term “disease.” Here we will analyze a few key points and show that what we call addiction doesn’t pass muster as a real disease.
-Gain a tolerance for the drug and loose the ability to enjoy it, along with loosing the ability to enjoy anything in life.
The ending result of those disrupting chemicals that keep interfering with neurons and their normal jobs, and the releasing of dopamine eventually mess up the receptors to a point beyond repair.
If a person has either of these diseases, they cannot directly choose to stop their symptoms or directly choose to stop the abnormal physiological functioning which creates the symptoms.
They can only choose to stop the physiological abnormality indirectly, by the application of medical treatment, and in the case of diabetes, dietetic measures may also indirectly halt the symptoms as well (but such measures are not a cure so much as a lifestyle adjustment necessitated by permanent physiological malfunction).
In addiction, there is no such physiological malfunction.
The best physical evidence put forward by the disease proponents falls totally flat on the measure of representing a physiological malfunction. The organization responsible for putting forth these brain scans, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Addiction (NIDA), defines addiction in this way: Addiction is defined as a chronic relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.