Acceptable Addiction? What is it and is Treatment Necessary?

acceptable addictionAddiction can be defined by a pathology and/or abnormality in the brain that creates intense cravings to substances or activities that appear irresistible to the individual.  Addiction is so intense and mirrors other conditions so much in fact that addiction has been declared a disease (see “Proof that Addiction is a Disease and How if Affects the Brain“) by many reputable medical associations across the world including the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Another name for addiction is Substance Use Disorder or SUD.  But what is an acceptable addiction?  Is there such a thing?  If so, is addiction treatment or drug rehab appropriate or beneficial?

Addiction however, in order for it to possess any kind of real power or authority over one’s life, must be accompanied by its object.  An object of addiction refers to a substance or activity that the brain has latched onto and deemed irresistible.  Anyone who claims they suffer from the disease of addiction are also saying they are continuously engaging or indulging in a particular substance or activity.  This is often why drug addiction is called Substance User Disorder or SUD.

Some substances and/or activities however, are clearly more dangerous than others.  Heroin is accompanied by a high overdose and death rate while nobody has died from solely marijuana use.  Even less harmful and is rarely if ever associated with treatment and recovery is caffeine.  But if addiction itself is a pathology, why isn’t addiction treatment and/or drug rehab recommended regardless of the substance and/or activity?

There are many possible answers.  Some have argued it’s because the individual isn’t really “addicted” to Caffeine.  Others have suggested that it’s because the actual addiction to caffeine (referring to the craving and compulsion to use) is mild compared to heroin.  That said, some individuals possess strong cravings for Caffeine and can’t even function until they drink that morning cup (or 2) of coffee.  Ironically however, there doesn’t appear to be many people rushing to provide addiction treatment and recovery services to this individual  So why not?

What is an Acceptable Addiction?

An acceptable addiction can be defined by a real cognitive compulsion or ubiquitous connection to a substance or activity that isn’t considered overly dangerous.   Many refer to an acceptable “drug”, but some activities can fall into this category.  Any real addiction is accompanied by a small or large list of problems however, some activities and/or substances are simply less dangerous.  Thus, the word “acceptable” is used.  As a result, family, friends, spouses and even medical professionals are far less worried or maybe possess no concern at all.  The bottom line is, because the object of addiction (substance or activity) may or may not be dangerous, the actual addiction, no matter how severe the compulsion, is often judged by its object.

Is Treatment for an Acceptable Addiction Appropriate or Necessary?

Because most people aren’t overly concerned about some substances or activities, by society’s definition, addiction to one of these non-dangerous objects is “acceptable”.  However, is it appropriate or necessary for an individual with an “acceptable” addiction to get help and treatment?

Just because a particular substance or activity won’t kill an individual, it doesn’t mean that addiction treatment would hurt and/or couldn’t help.  Some activities and substances may even be considered healthy, but the phrase “everything in moderation” was established for a reason – along with “too much of a good thing”.  A powerful obsession/craving, even if to something healthy can become unhealthy if it becomes an addiction.

Too much of an activity could cause stress or fatigue even if the activity in general is considered good for you.  Take exercise for example.  Working out several times a week with a couple days break in between is good for the body, mind and soul.  But working out hours a day may increase risks of serious injury, fatigue and stress.  Milk is a substance that’s generally good for the body as well when consumed in moderation.  But over-consumption of milk could cause stomach problems, oxidative stress damage and possibly bone problems.

Addiction can cause damage regardless of the substance or activity.  Therefore, addiction treatment can be appropriate for anyone with the disease regardless of the object.

Need Addiction Treatment and Help?

Our online drug addiction and recovery community helps men and women suffering from Substance Use Disorder, drug and heroin addiction who are sick and tired of being slaves and get the addiction help and treatment they want, need and deserve. For those ready for a chance, fill out our brief addiction treatment contact form. You can also call our drug rehab hotline at 215-857-5151.


Written and Published By William Charles, Owner/Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News, and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

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