There has been a lot of debate surrounding the label of “disease” for addiction since it is a chronic condition that has no cure. However, the vast majority of medical professionals agree that addiction is appropriately classified as a disease since it shares many of the same defining characteristics of any other disease such as heart disease, diabetes, or asthma. For instance, addiction is:
1. treatable, though non-curable
2. fatal if left untreated
3. the primary focus of one’s life
Additionally, addiction, which is also called substance use disorder (SUD), is a condition characterized by changes in both brain structure and function. Like other mental health disorders, addiction disrupts (and distorts) the brain’s standard functionality, which then affects other areas of health. So, addiction is, in fact, a disease.