What type of disease is addiction?

The American Medical Association (AMA) classified alcoholism as a disease in 1956 and included addiction as a disease in 1987.Addiction is a disease that affects the body and brain. It involves compulsive behavior with the use of one or more substances regardless of social and health consequences. Addiction is caused by a combination of behavioral, environmental, and biological factors. In the formation of addictions, there is never a single influence.

As with other diseases and disorders, the likelihood of developing an addiction varies from person to person, and there is no single factor that determines whether a person will become addicted to drugs. For them, addiction is a progressive and recurrent illness that requires intensive treatments and ongoing aftercare, monitoring and family or peer support to manage their recovery. Others argue that addiction is not a disease because some addicted people get better without treatment. While the disease of addiction is devastating for both addicts and their loved ones, more and more research has resulted in treatments that can help addicts return to a normal life.

Most medical associations, including the American Medical Association and the American Society for Addiction Medicine, define addiction as a disease. As with other illnesses, addiction can be effectively treated with medications and professional treatment programs. People with the most severe form of addiction usually need intensive treatment followed by lifelong treatment of the disease.