Maia Szalavitz, author of Unbroken Brain, challenges the idea of an addiction being a disease. Rather- having firsthand experience with addiction herself – she believes it is a learning disorder.
Due to the altered philosophy presented by Szalavitz, she suggests that addiction treatment services be adapted to suit it. Thinking of addiction as a learning disorder would place it on a spectrum of its own, much like autism. She speaks of issues concerning the physical and psychological effects of addiction, each representing its own place on said spectrum. It was emphasized that an addiction may still be present in the absence of physical signs, as psychological dependence may still be a factor. We do not have the same reaction to all drugs. Some drugs may evoke a strictly physiological response, a strictly psychological response, or, sometimes, both. These reactions will most likely present themselves in withdrawal. An addiction may change the way it manifests, but neither is more detrimental than the other – they are both dangerous and deserve immediate attention.
Regardless of how you view it, addiction is a serious illness that deserves the best treatment. Finding the substance abuse programs best suited to you, makes you most comfortable, and is the most important thing. There may be an archetype, but you are the mold.