The reality of the situation for addicts is that they have already lost the power of choice when it comes to fighting the urge to drink and use drugs. Unlike some other people, therefore, it’s not a matter of simply turning off a switch for their cravings. In fact, in recent years, addiction has already been classified as a legitimate mental illness.
The DSM V
Due to its progressive traits and the effects it has on the mind, addiction has recently been added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) manual, a diagnostic tool that doctors use to asses if a person has a mental illness. Studies have shown that addicts have an abnormal prefrontal cortex, which is unable to restrain the flow of dopamine in the system when they use mind-altering substances.
The phenomenon of craving kicks in from the moment the addict takes the first drink or drug. They immediately want more. Upon having their first taste, almost instantaneously, they are already obsessing about the next one and where it’s going to come from.
Hope in Treatment
Although there is no known cure for addiction, there is a way to overcome the mental illness. Many rehab centers have started using evidence-based treatment methods that have been backed by medical journals and medical schools for their validity. It takes some work from the patient’s end, but with perseverance and commitment, they can eventually be able to live a life free of active addiction.