Drug addiction, often the result of long term drug abuse, is a chronic condition that often includes relapse and that includes compulsive use of drugs. The individual will spend large amounts of time seeking out drugs if they are not readily available. Most people make a voluntary decision to start using a specific drug, and drug addiction carries a stigma that most medical conditions do not have. With chronic drug abuse there are changes that occur in the brain which prevent the individual from stopping the substance abuse. As long as the drugs are in their system the individual may not be capable of rational thought. Detox allows the user to get clean, and this allows them to make a conscious decision to refrain from drug abuse.
Drug addiction is similar to many chronic medical conditions, however many hesitate to label drug abuse as a disease because this could lead to the mindset that the individual is not responsible. A diabetic does not have the option to abstain from a specific thing and have their condition go into remission most of the time. Drug addiction may be viewed with the medical model by some professionals but it is important for the individual to understand that they have to accept responsibility for their actions. This is no different than someone who binges on high sugar junk foods in enormous quantities and does not exercise who develops diabetes as a result of their diet and lifestyle. Treatment programs can help stop drug abuse, but it is up t the individual to place a priority and high value on sobriety.