Addiction and Choice

choiceNIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow recently claimed in her blog that, “…once addiction is established, the sufferer from this disease cannot will themselves to be healthy and avoid drugs any more than a person with heart disease can will their heart back to perfect functioning, or a person with diabetes can will their body’s insulin response to return to normal.”

She makes her case by describing brain functions and imaging as evidence, of which she certainly has plenty of, but she is negating the human power of resiliency.  Perhaps a more accurate and hopeful way of approaching this topic is the understanding that, people have an innate desire, consciously and subconsciously, to be both physically and mentally healthy.  This desire coupled with resiliency creates the will for many to eventually do something about their problems, such as seeking out effective treatments and to make healthier decisions in life.

In this same way, people can make the choice to do something about their diabetes or heart disease and actually reverse the conditions, so her examples aren’t absolutes either. The fundamental difference is that it takes action in association with the decision. Often this first requires some form of intervention.

An intervention for heart disease could be a heart attack, while for a diabetic it could be having to take insulin shots or shortness of breath from weight gain. For an addict, the intervention can come from an overdose, an arrest, losing a job or friends and family stepping in to offer help. In any case, it is a life-altering instance that prompts someone to make changes.

So, while Dr. Volkow raises good points about the physical and chemical structural changes that can occur and make the dis-ease of addiction seem completely incurable, the fact still remains that people do have the ability to choose to do something about it and the resiliency to reverse the problem and restore health. Nobody said it’s easy, but it can be done. This is something that we see in our guests at Gulf Breeze Recovery every week. Contact us today to find out more about our unique program.

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