man with hand on head wondering why is addiction a mental disorder

Why Is Addiction A Mental Disorder?

If you or someone you know suffers from the mental effects of addiction, you know that addiction is a disease. Sadly, stigma still exists in a society that says otherwise. Medical and mental health professionals agree that addiction is a disease of both the brain and the body. But why is addiction a mental disorder? Know that addiction and mental health recovery is possible with help from a mental health treatment center.

Addiction And The Brain

Unfortunately, there is a constant struggle between mental health professionals and the general public when it comes to understanding substance abuse. People wonder, “Why is addiction a mental disorder?” For someone who doesn’t have experience with addiction, it can be hard or impossible to understand why a person who is addicted to a substance can’t simply stop on their own. For a person who is in the throes of addiction, this is the same as asking someone why they can’t just stop breathing. Getting rid of a substance use problem alone is not only impossible for most people- it’s dangerous.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, or the DSM, addiction is classified as a mental illness. Addiction affects both the brain and the body in ways that interfere with the ability to live a normal life. When the brain receives a hit of the substance of choice, dopamine, serotonin, and other feel-good chemicals are released. As soon as after the first use, the brain begins to build up a tolerance to the substance. In most cases, it’s impossible for the brain to ever release the amounts of dopamine and serotonin it released at first use. This results in the user constantly chasing the high they had the first time. This is how addiction begins.

Over time, the body becomes accustomed to functioning with the substance. It can literally become impossible for the body to survive when the substance is absent. This is why it’s so important for people struggling with addiction to get help from a qualified treatment center. Addicts who also struggle with mental health issues need specialized treatment in order to beat addiction. A qualified dual diagnosis mental health treatment center can help beat the mental effects of addiction.

Genetic Factors

You may have noticed that some people who use alcohol or drugs to excess are able to get their lives under control, while others become addicted. While researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes one person to become an addict and not another, it’s clear that there is a genetic link. People whose parents are addicts are more likely to become addicts themselves. This is likely due to a combination of biological and environmental factors.

While the genes inherited from your parents can play a role, so can the environment in which you were raised. If your family struggles with addiction, family therapy can be a helpful tool for everyone to learn healthy coping strategies to help each other live healthy, sober lives.

Conquer your addiction. Create the life you always wanted.

At Promises Behavioral Health, we understand that beating an addiction is not easy, and we’re here to help. If you’re wondering “Why is addiction a mental disorder?” we’re here to explain how addiction works and help you beat the mental effects of addiction. Contact us for an individualized treatment plan that will help you develop a way to stay sober that makes sense for your unique lifestyle. We believe that you have the power to overcome your addiction and live a clean, healthy life. We’ll work with you to unravel the complicated web of addiction.

You won’t be alone in finding your way to recovery. We understand and believe that addiction is a disease. Just like you wouldn’t be expected to beat cancer on your own, you shouldn’t be expected to beat addiction on your own either. Take the first step, and give us a call at 844.875.5609 to get started on your personal path to recovery.

Scroll to Top