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Is Addiction a Disease? Experts say YES.

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) frame substance use disorder as a medical condition.

Yet many continue to ask whether addiction is a disease, so we asked the country’s top expert on addiction, Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“It’s actually been strange to me that people have a difficulty in understanding addiction as a disease, because a disease is basically described as damage to an organ or system that jeopardizes your wellbeing,” explains Dr. Volkow. “We now have clear cut evidence that certain circuits in the brain become dysfunctional when you are addicted to drugs.”

Education around addiction and how to both prevent and treat the health condition is a critical step in improving our response nationwide. Misinformation about addiction can contribute to stigma which too often dissuades individuals with substance use disorders from seeking help.

Join us today in spreading the word that addiction is a health condition that is both preventable and treatable.


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