So many people have the misconception that addiction is a choice not a disease. However, science says otherwise. Substance use disorder is a complex disease of the brain and the Medical Medical Association, as well as the American Society of Addiction Medicine categorize it as a chronic-disease, similar to diabetes and heart disease. So, can addiction be cured?
It’s a combination of behavioral, psychological, environmental, and biological factors that play a role. In addition to genetic risk factors, and more. Saying addiction is a choice rather than a disease means ignoring all of these factors.
Understanding the Disease of Addiction
The American Society of Addiction Medicine categorizes addiction as a primary, chronic disease of brain reward. Addiction to drugs, alcohol, eating, gambling, and so on happens when someone struggles with a compulsive desire to obtain and use these elements despite the negative effects on themselves or others.
Overtime, addiction causes noticeable and predictable changes in behavior and the way the brain works. People often struggle with cravings and because their ability to make decisions is impaired, they have extreme difficulty quitting, ebem when the negative effects of their addiction become unbearable.
What’s a Cure?
When people talk about being cured of a disease or silent, they refer to the condition being removed from their body. However, when it comes to addiction, like many other chronic conditions a cure doesn’t exist. There isn’t a vaccine or a pill someone can take to get rid of addiction. When we talk about addiction, we can treat and manage it, but we cannot cure the disease.
To get more granular, the definition of a “cure” is a substance or procedure that ends a medical condition. A cure can be a medication, a surgical procedure, a change in lifestyle, or even a philosophical mindset that ends someone’s suffering permanently.
Can Addiction Be Cured?
While addiction cannot be cured, it can be treated. Those struggling with addiction can choose various treatment plans to help them manage their addiction, address their behavioral problems, and find long-term sobriety.
The first to manage the disease of drug and alcohol addiction is through a medical detox. The purpose of drug and alcohol detox is to remove the substance from the body. However, when people don’t do this under medical supervision, they can experience fatal withdrawal symptoms. It’s important to have the right supervision and the medical care available to undergo a detox process.
During the detox process, sometimes the use of overdose medication can help with withdrawal symptoms. Doctors often recommend medication-assisted treatment options to ensure the detox process is safe and comfortable. By providing an easy detox journey, patients feel more encouraged to continue their rehab journey.
Again, there isn’t a pill that will cure addiction (yet). However, throughout the recovery process, there are some FDA-approved medications for addiction treatment such as: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. However, these are only available at treatment centers that offer medication-assisted treatment programs. Additionally, research shows that these medications need the addition of behavioral therapies to be the most effective.
A significant part of addiction treatment is therapy. Speaking with a therapist through individual sessions, attending 12-step programs, and going to group counseling sessions can all help with recovery. Some evidence-based therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) alongside other efforts can help people identify the underlying causes of addiction.
Sometimes, people struggling with substance use disorders also suffer from mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, and others. Most of the time, people fall for drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication, or they end up misusing prescription drugs. When this happens, seeking a dual diagnosis treatment program can help them treat both conditions simultaneously to better improve their chances of recovery.
Walking into sober living can be scary at first. Returning home to the same environment that fostered the addiction in the first place can be a powerful trigger. Most addicts in recovery must commit to lifestyle changes to maintain sobriety. Continue attending 12-step meetings, connecting with the recovery community, and fostering a relationship with a sponsor or a therapist is vital for recovery.
Finally, recovery isn’t possible without the right support system by your side. No one can do it alone. Recovering addicts are need to build a support system, having sober friends and family members by your side will help you find fulfillment outside rehab.
Seek Help for Addiction Today
So, can addiction be cured? Well, so far there isn’t a fix-it-all solution for addiction. But, there’s hope. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, please contact us today.
At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our team of addiction specialists will help you create a customized recovery plan to help you achieve sobriety. We use a combination of behavioral therapies, group counseling, aftercare recovery programs, and life skills training to help you cherish life after drug rehab. We believe you have the power to conquer drug addiction and we want to help you discover your potential.