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Is Addiction Truly a Disease?

Is addiction truly a disease or is it someone who simply and selfishly prioritizes themselves over all else?

Listen to Dr. Higgins, founder of Wired For Addiction®, and Dr. Howard Gluss on his podcast Dr. G: Engaging Minds, as they break down the BioPsychoSocial factors of addiction.



The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. Similarly, Britannica defines a disease as any harmful deviation from the normal structural or functional state of an organism.


The biopsychosocial model of addiction is well established in the scientific community. In short, it means that addiction has multiple contributing factors that put an individual at risk for developing an addiction. The factors fall into 3 primary categories: biological factors, psychological factors, and social factors.


Without objectively measuring the biological component of addiction, the psychological and social components leave room for criticism and blame – criticism of the aberrant behaviors and blaming on the character of the individual. This criticism & blame often lead to shame, guilt, and other feelings that often make one withdraw from potential recovery solutions.


At Wired For Addiction®, we objectively measure deviations of brain chemicals, genes, and hormones associated with anxiety, depression, sleep, agitation, energy, focus, libido, appetite, pain, and pleasure. The human condition naturally compels us to seek comfort and avoid anything which makes us uncomfortable. Self-medicating uncomfortable feelings, thoughts, or impulses derived from deviations in biological factors can lead to addiction.

The bottom line: by addressing the biological component, we can better treat what is considered to be a chronically relapsing disease.

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