There are at least four primary ways to understand drug addiction:
1. Drug addiction is a biological problem.
2. Drug addiction is a psychological problem.
3. Drug addiction is a social or cultural problem.
4. Drug addiction is a spiritual problem.
You can learn more about these four ways to understand drug addictionin the article entitled, What causes addiction.
Recent research suggests the causes of addictions, such as drug addiction, are heavily influenced by our biology. When viewed in this manner, drug addiction is sometimes called a disease. However, there is no medical "cure" for drug addiction. Yet, every day people recover from drug addiction. The different ways that people recover from drug addiction rely on psychological, socio-cultural, and spiritual solutions. Therefore, viewing drug addiction as a disease is too simplistic. When drug addiction is viewed as a disease, there is one dividing line. Either you have a disease, or you do not. However, we know people experience varying degrees of difficulty with drugs ranging from none to severe. Additionally, people may experience drug problems during different periods of their life. A disease concept of drug addiction does not account for the full range of drug-related problems that may come and go as people move through their lives. Similarly, it does not account for the many non-medical solutions to recovery from drug addiction.