Can addictions be cured?
- ‘Addiction’ is defined as 'a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence: the state of being addicted.'
- AmericanAddictionCenters.org states, 'Genetics, including the impact of one's environment on gene expression, account for about 40% to 60% of a person's risk of addiction.'
- A 2021 statistic from AddictionResource.net records that roughly '1.27 million Americans are receiving medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction.'
- According to AddictionCenter.com, about 50 million Americans are addicted to tobacco products.
- Research from RecoveryAnswers.org reveals that '1 in 10 Americans report having resolved a significant substance use problem,' with alcohol being the most common primary substance.
- A 2021 statistic from Statista shows that 'the state department of health certified around 48 percent of the country's substance abuse treatment facilities which were licensed or certified.'
Findings in the field of addiction rehabilitation are constantly evolving. There is a common misunderstanding that addiction may be treated medically. However, there is no simple answer.
People who have experienced or cared for someone with an addiction often ask, 'Why can't that person just have some self-control and stop?' Addiction is rife with myths and misunderstandings, and many individuals have no idea how it works. As a result of this frustration, people frequently make fast judgments and false assumptions about addiction, such as the belief that if someone is 'once an addict,' they will 'always be an addict.'
For those who want a clearer picture, a closer examination of studies might help.
There is a possibility of relapse when an individual completes a course of treatment for addiction. Addiction has been classified as a chronic condition by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Although unpleasant results might be expected, it is regarded as an illness of the brain that causes relapse, characterized by a strong desire to return to substance use.
People who have made it through the first few weeks and months of abstinence are more likely to relapse, and a single slip-up can send them into a downward spiral. It's good news that the likelihood of relapse drops dramatically after about two years of sobriety and treatment. The individual in recovery is not, however, fully recovered. Relapse is always a possibility when addiction is present.
Addiction is a salient issue in America today. Between 1999 and 2016, there were 632,331 deaths from drug overdoses, most of which resulted from years of addiction. Opioid-related overdoses are the 5th highest cause for early death in the US, beating out guns or motor vehicle accidents. But it's not only opioids. The number of alcohol-related deaths doubled between 1999 and 2017. Addiction is a significant problem for society that has touched all of us in one way or another.
But, thankfully, addiction is something that can be cured. Many groups such as AA take the stance that addiction is an incurable disease that people are born with. They often use diabetes as a metaphor for addiction, saying it requires lifelong management but can never be cured. This leaves many addicts and their families in despair. However, the National Institute for Drug Abuse declares they can be cured.
Several proven ways to cure physical addictions do not require complete sobriety to prevent relapse. The more challenging issues to address are the root causes of addiction—often psychological rather than physical. Many people use substances as a form of escape, which can snowball into full-blown addictive habits to suppress childhood trauma or PTSD.
People can escape this terrible cycle by first addressing the physical addiction and then the underlying psychological conditions. Many find that when they can confront and overcome these traumas, they can overcome their addiction. Addiction is a complex and highly personal topic, but those stuck in it should know that it is not a death sentence and that they can get clean and live the life they desire.