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Why Drug or Alcohol Addiction is a Chronic Relapsing Illness

Even though many Americans are in recovery today and many more are battling addiction and trying to get sober, it continues to be a constant struggle that goes on for the rest of their lives in most cases. Unfortunately for people who don’t know what addiction is like, they often fail to understand the true nature of addiction, how it affects people and why it is a lifelong struggle for many, even those in recovery. 

At Hillside Mission Recovery we don’t just believe in treating our clients and helping them to get on the path to sobriety, but changing their way of life and the way of life of those around them by giving them the tools they need to understand and cope with addiction and its consequences. This also means helping those with a loved one battling addiction to understand the true nature of addiction. In this post we will explain what drug or alcohol addiction is, why drug or alcohol addiction is a chronic relapsing illness, and how to get help with addiction today. 

What Is Drug or Alcohol Addiction? 

Drug or alcohol addiction is most often characterized by a need to use drugs or alcohol regardless of the effects on the body or the consequences of continued use. The way this use begins and proceeds to addiction can vary from person to person and the substance they use, but there are some basic principles that define addiction. 

In medical terms, addiction is a physiological and psychological need to use drugs and alcohol regardless of the effects that it has on the person using it. It is more than just a choice to use or a simple compulsion however, as the brain chemistry and even body chemistry of the person using becomes altered over time and with continued use to where they become chemically dependent on the drug in order to function normally. 

This leads to a variety of consequences that the person addicted can face. Drug or alcohol addiction is often accompanied by physical side effects like nausea, vomiting, inability to focus, depression, mood swings, and other disorders. They also will often withdraw from family and friends due to the drug use and may feel a sense of guilt or shame. Over continued use, they will prioritize using drugs or alcohol over their own safety and may even risk illegal behavior to acquire the substance. 

Why Drug or Alcohol Addiction Is a Chronic Relapsing Illness 

One of the hardest things for non-addicts to understand is that addiction is a lifelong problem, even after recovery. The short answer is that addiction is a disease that former drug or alcohol users continue to deal with. Addiction does not end once they complete treatment. While getting sober is possible with  the right help, there is still the possibility of relapse because many people begin using for a  variety of reasons and any one of these reasons could trigger a relapse. 

While the chemical dependence on drugs or alcohol may end, it is difficult to prevent all the possible reasons why a person may use it in the first place. This means that it is a constant struggle to get clean and stay that way with a variety of mental and physical stressors to deal with. 

How To Get Help With Addiction Today 

The best way to get help with an addiction and maximize chances of a successful recovery is by going to a treatment facility like Hillside Mission Recovery. At our facility, clients can undergo personalized treatment by our medically trained expert staff while they learn what they need to stay sober for the long term. 

From our luxurious inpatient rehab center to our personalized treatment plans, we offer our clients the best chance at getting and staying sober. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction and wants help getting sober, contact Hillside Mission Recovery today.