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ADDICTION TO DRUGS IS NOT A MENTAL DISEASE
Posted by johnsoler
2nd Jul 2019

The latest scientific research in the field has ruled out that drug addiction meets the basic criteria to be considered a disease, insofar as its cause is unknown - it is not transmissible, neither contagious, nor autoimmune, nor hereditary, nor degenerative, nor traumatic - and its development is closely linked to a personal and voluntary decision to initiate consumption. Consequently, addiction can not be considered a mental illness caused by chronic brain disease.

In addition, the aforementioned disparity, both in the causes of initiation to consumption and in the processes of rehabilitation, is more compatible with the influence of multiple external factors, which have the possibility of producing a very varied range of results, which with the simple idea of "mental illness".

On the other hand, the biological determinism that characterizes this model completely annuls the sense of prevention and the need for public awareness, because if the cause of the addiction is reduced to a brain disease, the individual is relieved of any responsibility and empowerment voluntary.

Scientific knowledge, according to the study, consolidates a series of statements that harmonize much better with an integral approach and a psychosocial model. They are the following:

Addictions are not chronic or incurable.
People with an addictive disorder and difficulties to change by themselves must receive psychological treatment to help them modify the harmful habits of consumption that constitute the addiction. In this work, educational, medical and social support is in many cases essential to improve their health and facilitate change.
The drugs do not reduce any cerebral chemical imbalance that triggers the addiction, but, on the contrary, they should be seen as mere facilitators of the change in behaviors and habits that should occur in recovery.
The changes in the structure and functioning of the brain that appear with the administration of addictive substances are the effect of the addiction, and not the cause. These changes are essentially the same as those observed in conditions that are considered normal, such as romantic infatuation and loving rejection.
Changes in the structure of the brain are not irreversible. Many studies show that all the deficits associated with addiction tend to revert with abstinence.
People with addiction do not often have other mental disorders, so talking about "dual pathology" is not justified. That is, there is no original pathology that triggers a second pathology.
In view of the accumulated evidence, it is concluded that the integral biopsychosocial approach, centered on the person and its development, must be maintained by the interest of the people who suffer the consequences of their addictive behaviors, but also by the interest of the society that it must not suffer that a problem of this magnitude falls into the hands of commercial interests, chronify the problems, make its approach more expensive and, consequently, multiply the harmful consequences already known, before the creation of the National Plan on Drugs.

The authorities must attend to scientific knowledge independent of the interests of the pharmaceutical industry, and design their policies accordingly.

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