Disease is a broad term that encompasses a range of involuntary health conditions, including those caused by genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. Among these, addiction to drugs and alcohol is increasingly recognised as a disease by the medical community. This categorisation is significant because it frames addiction as a medical issue rather than a failure of willpower or morality.

Addiction is characterised by a compulsive need to use substances despite the harmful consequences. It arises from changes in the brain’s reward system, leading to altered behaviour and an overwhelming desire to consume drugs or alcohol. These changes are similar to those observed in other chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, which are influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental and behavioural factors. In addiction, genetics play a substantial role, contributing to approximately half of an individual’s risk of developing a substance use disorder.

The disease model of addiction suggests that like other diseases, addiction disrupts normal functioning— in this case, of the brain affecting one’s ability to control substance use. It leads to a diminished quality of life and can escalate to life-threatening levels if left untreated. However, it’s important to understand that addiction is a treatable condition. Rehabilitation and treatment centers offer evidence-based interventions to help individuals recover, aiming to restore health and function.

This model has also been instrumental in shifting the perception of addiction towards a more empathetic and supportive approach. By recognising addiction as a disease, society can reduce stigma and encourage those affected to seek help without fear of judgment. Effective treatments often involve a combination of behavioural therapies, counselling, and, in some cases, medication to manage the disease and support recovery.

Understanding addiction as a disease also highlights the importance of addressing triggers and the risk of relapse. Recovery from addiction is a long-term process, requiring ongoing management and support to maintain sobriety. This perspective aligns with the management of other chronic diseases, where treatment adherence and lifestyle adjustments play critical roles in managing the condition.

While there are differing views on categorising addiction as a disease with some arguing against this model, the predominant medical opinion supports the disease framework. This perspective is backed by substantial research and recognised by leading health organizations, which view addiction as a complex disorder requiring comprehensive treatment and support. Recognising addiction as a disease underlines the necessity for a compassionate approach to treatment, emphasising medical care, support and understanding for those affected.

What is Addition as a Disease? Is Addition a Disease?

Learn about the nature of diseases, including addiction and obtain assistance to overcome them at We Do Recover Help. Get help from qualified counsellors.

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    Founded in 2008, WeDoRecover has evolved from an advisory service for addiction treatment into a comprehensive provider of care, following its 2019 merger with Changes Addiction Rehab in Johannesburg. Specialising in connecting patients to top-tier addiction treatment centers in the UK, South Africa and Thailand, WeDoRecover supports individuals globally, including those from the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Accepting both South African medical aid and international health insurance our organisation facilitates access to high-quality treatment for substance and alcohol use disorders, offering individualised care that addresses the physical, mental and social needs of patients.

    Our team, led by Gareth Carter, offers empathetic and professional support, guiding you through every step of the treatment process. Whether you're in South Africa or abroad, our acceptance of various insurance plans makes quality care accessible, providing a platform for lasting recovery and a healthier future.

    Inpatient Rehab

    Rehab care is a good option if you are at risk of experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms when you try stop a substance. This option would also be recommended if you have experienced recurrent relapses or if you have tried a less-intensive treatment without success.


    If you're committed to your sobriety but cannot take a break from your daily duties for an inpatient program. Outpatient rehab treatment might suit you well if you are looking for a less restricted format for addiction treatment or simply need help with mental health.


    Therapy can be good step towards healing and self-discovery. If you need support without disrupting your routine, therapy offers a flexible solution for anyone wishing to enhance their mental well-being or work through personal issues in a supportive, confidential environment.

    Mental Health

    Are you having persistent feelings of being swamped, sad or have sudden surges of anger or intense emotional outbursts? These are warning signs of unresolved trauma mental health. A simple assesment by a mental health expert could provide valuable insights into your recovery.

    Finding the right rehab close to you is simple with WeDoRecover. Our network includes the finest rehab centers, ensuring personalised, quality care for your recovery needs. Let Gareth Carter and our empathetic team help guide you to a center that feels right for you, offering expert care and support. Start your healing today by choosing a rehab that's not just close to you, but also that truly cares about your loved ones recovery.

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