People often think of addiction as something that other people choose. If someone is addicted to alcohol, for instance, others will say that they created the issue for themselves by choosing to drink every day or to drink to excess. But is this really how it works? Or is addiction more of a medical condition than a personal choice?

Most medical professionals absolutely recognize addiction as a disease. It is a medical condition. It is something that impacts people in different ways. While it is easy for those who do not have addictive personalities or suffer from this disorder to be confused by those who do, it’s important to recognize that this experience is not the same for everyone. 

In fact, one medical expert wrote for Harvard University and had the following to say: “The stigma and shame of addiction has much to do with the perception that people with substance use disorders are weak.” The article went on to talk about how this was not the case and that a greater understanding of the real issues behind addiction can help to break down these stereotypes. 

Think of it this way: If someone gets cancer because they were genetically more likely to develop the disease, no one says that it is their own fault or that they should have been able to control it in some way. The same needs to be true for addiction. It’s important not to put the blame on the victim, who is simply suffering from this condition and who is seeking answers. 

Those who face drunk driving charges may also want to consider the relationship between addiction and behavior, as they are sometimes able to use treatment programs instead of jail time.