Whether or not addiction is a disease is a topic that has been debated for many years. How the question is answered has a bearing on how addicts are treated by family, friends and treatment professionals. Advances in brain imaging have shown that alprazolam addiction changes the brains of users and have revealed that there is a biological basis for the cravings and compulsions experienced during recovery.
How Alprazolam Abuse Affects the Brain and Body
A disease can be defined as an alteration of a living body that impairs its proper functioning. Alprazolam addiction fits this definition. Addictive substances affect neurotransmitter levels in the body. Benzodiazepine drugs like alprazolam affect the neurotransmitter GABA. They induce changes that make it easier for GABA to bind to certain sites in the brain and central nervous system. The first step on the road to alprazolam addiction is the development of drug tolerance. This happens because the human body is always attempting to maintain balance or homeostasis and adapts to the changes instituted by the drug. Continued alprazolam use means that GABA receptors become less efficient.
Alprazolam addiction develops, because drugs cause changes in one direction, and the body pushes back in another. Eventually the body comes to see the presence of alprazolam as normal, and when the drug isn’t present, the “pushing back” is unopposed. For this reason, withdrawal symptoms tend to be opposite in nature from the primary effects of alprazolam. Because the effects of alprazolam are sedative in nature, withdrawal effects tend to be stimulatory.
Is Alprazolam Addiction a Disease?
Some people argue that alprazolam addiction should not be considered a disease, because there is an element of choice involved. Especially at the beginning of the addiction process, the decision to take the drug is made for non-biological reasons. However, as alprazolam use continues, it becomes more and more difficult to control use, because the body has adapted to the presence of the drug and considers itself to be in a state of deprivation when alprazolam is not present. Some addiction treatment professionals compare addiction to other diseases like heart disease or diabetes which are biologically based but can be affected greatly by the decisions of those suffering from them. Understanding that alprazolam addiction is biologically based helps when treating it. Treatment professionals understand that will power on its own is not enough to overcome an addiction. People need to be supported and to be taught coping skills while brains and bodies heal. Rehab provides support, education, therapy and skills for getting clean and staying clean from alprazolam.
Will Power Alone Is Rarely Enough
If you or a loved one is in need of alprazolam addiction treatment, we can help you find the program that is right for you. Call our confidential toll-free helpline, and let us answer your questions about addiction and recovery. We are available 24 hours a day, so there is no need to wait. Call now.