Addiction is a chronic disease, like heart disease or asthma. As such, it’s not really accurate to think about a “cure” for addiction any more than it would be appropriate to talk about a cure for those diseases. Addiction is something that people can struggle with the rest of their lives.
The good news is that addiction can be effectively treated and managed so that it doesn’t disrupt your health, happiness, or ability to live a productive and fulfilling life. Decades of research on the biology and psychology of substance misuse disorders have led to well-tested, research-based methods to help people recover.
Relapse Doesn’t Mean Failure
Many people think that a relapse in the course of recovery means they have failed — but that’s not the case. Since addiction is a chronic disease, relapse is a part of the process. Relapse rates for addiction are similar to rates for other chronic medical illnesses, but newer treatments are specially designed to help prevent relapses.
It’s important to keep in mind, though, that when it comes to drugs, relapse can be very dangerous — it’s definitely better to avoid it if at all possible. As recovery progresses, a person’s tolerance to previous levels of drug exposure begins to fall. When a person relapses, they often take the dose they’re used to from before they started recovery, which can lead to hospitalization or even death.
Behavioral Therapies For Drug Addiction
In addition to a variety of medicinal treatment, behavioral therapy helps people with substance misuse problems to change their attitudes and behaviors. They’re better able to cope with stressful situations and triggers that might push them to relapse.
Whether it’s cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps patients avoid situations that might push them back into drug use, or family therapy, which helps create a more supportive and functional environment for recovering patients.
No matter what the final process looks like, stopping drug use is only the first step of a long, complicated recovery process. Addiction can cause major disruptions in a person’s life, not just in their own bodies but in their families, careers, and communities.
Because the effects of addiction can be so broad, treatment needs to address the entire problem. And while the long-term effects of addiction may never go away entirely, anyone can find the help they need, with the appropriate support.