Those who have been touched by addiction are the only ones who know just how terrifying it can be. Popular culture has attempted to replicate this situation, which at times can seem chaotic, but does not truly paint the entire picture. Drug abuse and addiction are real issues that are plaguing all levels of society. Various parts of the nation have even had to claim “states of emergency” as the drug problem has spilled over to an epidemic. As a result of the increased amount of addiction and substance abuse issues in the country, along with ever-increasing research on such issues, the problem of addiction is now labeled a disease. Specialists in the field of addiction and science have found evidence of the connection between substance abuse/addiction and chemical reactions in the brain that show how addiction is a disease, but there are plenty of specialists that do not agree. Calling addiction a disease has some very dangerous implications. Here are twelve reasons why addiction is not and should not be considered a disease.

Addiction is Not a Disease

The obvious reasons for addiction not being a disease can be seen at the surface level. For this argument’s sake, a comparison between cancer and addiction will show how addiction is not and cannot be a disease.

  1. Cancer does not have a fixed rehabilitation. Addiction requires a specific, timed rehabilitation program. Cancer requires routine screenings and a specific medical treatment.
  2. It is clear the exact moment that a disease, like cancer, has begun. The start of addiction, on the other hand, cannot be pinpointed. An addict can look back to the time they started experimenting with and abusing drugs. However, the addiction itself cannot be pinpointed, cancer cells can be.
  3. Addiction is overcome through hard work and persistence in a treatment program and/or group therapy. Cancer cannot, it requires intensive medical treatment and continued therapy.
  4. Diseases do not provide any ‘good’ sensations. Drugs and alcohol side effect is that of euphoria and other positive sensations. Cancer, for example, does not yield such sensations; it causes serious pain.
  5. Using and abusing drugs loosens a person up, to points where they ‘can’ have fun or be the ‘life of the party’. Everyone knows that person or has a friend who gets ‘fun’ after a few drinks. Cancer does not make you the life of the party.
  6. You do not get a disease, like cancer, when someone tells you to try it. Addiction starts with a willingness to try something.
  7. Cancer is physically painful, addiction is not. The withdrawal from abusing drugs can be painful, but not the addiction itself.
  8. Abusing drugs feels good (temporarily at least). Getting cancer does not, nor does any other disease.
  9. The temptation to reuse drugs is always there after getting sober. No one is ever tempted to get cancer after they are in remission.
  10. Cancer requires medical treatment. Not all addicts need medical treatment or even treatment itself. There are some, few as they might be, that do not require treatment.
  11. The chemical changes in the brain, as a result of addiction, are the same as falling in love or being a fan of a sports team. These are things that are not diseases, clearly, the chemical and physical changes in the body as a result of cancer do make it a disease.
  12. The brain is always changing as we experience life. These changes can and are made by the individual themselves, without direct physical/chemical alterations. These are the changes that addiction causes, cancer, on the other hand, is much different and therefore a ‘real’ disease.

While addiction is not a disease, those suffering from it should seek help. Contact Addiction’s site: or by phone: 1 (877) 411-7376 for help.