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Setting the Record Straight: Is Addiction a Mental Illness?

Setting the Record Straight: Is Addiction a Mental Illness?

Is addiction a mental illness? Many people find themselves asking this question. They assume that the answer is a simple yes or no. However, there’s more to consider in the answer than meets the eye.

Setting the Record Straight: Is Addiction a Mental Illness?

Setting the Record Straight: Is Addiction a Mental Illness?The short answer is yes, addiction is a mental illness. However, why do so many people get confused with classifying it this way? The answer has to do with how health organizations label addiction.

Take the World Health Organization (WHO), for example, labels addiction as a dependency syndrome. As of 1964, WHO doesn’t even use the word addiction. Instead, it uses dependence as the replacement.

However, some doctors consider both of these terms to be the same. With that said, dependency syndrome is a mental disorder. Putting all of the information together, people can see that addiction is a mental disease.

The Symptoms of Addiction or Dependency Syndrome

As a mental health condition, addiction has a set of symptoms. For doctors to diagnose people with this disease, they must have symptoms such as:

  • A strong compulsion or desire to use or participate in an activity or substance use
  • Physiological or physical withdrawal symptoms when not taking the substance or engaging in the activity
  • High level of tolerance for a specific substance or activity
  • Persistently taking or engaging in an activity despite the negative consequences

Sometimes people wonder why doctors include activities in the symptoms. After all, most people automatically think about drugs when addiction comes to mind. However, people can develop addictions to many activities as well.

For instance, it’s possible to have sex, gambling, or shopping addictions. In 2018, WHO put sex addiction on its list of mental health disorders. Sex isn’t something that people take like a drug. Instead, they engage in the activity compulsively, as if it’s a drug.

Treating Addiction

To treat addiction, people have to deal with any other underlying mental health problems that are also present. In fact, addiction rarely pops up alone. Failure to address underlying issues typically results in relapse. After all, the underlying problems are often the cause or result of the drug abuse.

Get Help for Your Mental Illness Today

Is addiction a mental illness? At Ardu Recovery Center, we know that it is. We’re a Utah dual diagnosis treatment center that can help you overcome addiction and other mental health issues. Some of the programs that we offer include:

Don’t ignore your addiction. Despite what you may believe, it’s a genuine disorder that can disrupt your life. Learn more about is addiction a mental illness and contact Ardu Recovery Center today at 801-810-1234.