Substance Abuse

Chemical Dependence

Mental Health

Workplace Issues

American Society

for the

Prevention of Suicide:


Anesthetists in Recovery



Recovering Health Care Professional Support Forum

Addiction is a Disease: Not a lack of willpower!


1. A disordered or incorrectly functioning

organ, part, structure, or system of the

body resulting from the effect of genetic

or developmental errors, infection, poisons,

nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity,

or unfavorable environmental factors; illness;

sickness; ailment.

2. A pathological condition of a part, organ,

or system of an organism resulting from

various causes, such as infection, genetic

defect, or environmental stress, and

characterized by an identifiable group of

signs or symptoms.

3. A condition or tendency, as of society,

regarded as abnormal and harmful.

"They chose to start drinking and using

drugs! Now they need to choose to stop!

They just don't want to!"

That's probably the most common comment

I hear from those uneducated about this

disease. I've heard this from licensed

professional health care providers, politicians,

hairdressers, university professors, school

teachers, ministers, police officers, and even

the occasional "rocket scientist".

Is this REALLY a disease someone has chosen?

I'll give you the first sentence above. They DID

choose to "try" drugs or alcohol. But did they

choose to become addicted? I certainly didn’t.

The development of addiction(s) is a genetically

based and environmentally induced (stress, poor

coping skills, and a mood altering chemical or

activity that relieves the stress). The changes take

place over a period of time (sometimes fast...sometimes slow) and aren’t usually recognized until things become “really bad”.

Follow the links to the left under “Further Readings” for more information regarding the disease process.

Signs of Substance Abuse and Addiction in Anesthesia Professionals

Sex Addiction


Is Addiction a Disease?

Addiction: A Neurological Disorder

Understanding Addiction