There are some addiction rehab centers that insist they can cure drug and alcohol addiction. Is this claim realistic? Can drug and/or alcohol addiction be permanently cured?
Extensive research attributes addiction largely to changes in brain structure and function. Because these changes make it much harder for the addict to control substance use, health experts recommend professional treatment and complete abstinence.
So, Can We Really Cure Alcohol Addiction?
Today, most experts agree that drugs provide an instant shortcut to our brain’s pleasure center. They flood our brains with dopamine and condition us to seek the next high. As a result, our bodies begin reducing their natural dopamine output. With repeated drug use, pleasure dissipates but the cravings remain. Thus, drugs hijack our natural drive for pleasure. Addicts pursue drugs despite the fact that the pleasure they experience from them progressively diminishes.
Vaccines and medications like Suboxone, which block the rewarding effects of drugs, have increased the likelihood that addicts can stay off drugs or alcohol. In addition, the federal government recently revised drug policies to recognize addiction as a disease and has emphasized treatment over punishment. Will any of these developments, by themselves, cure addiction? Probably not. Nevertheless, they are steps in the right direction.
Lifelong Treatment Can Result in Long-term Recovery
According to the addiction experts at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the chronic nature of the disease means that relapsing to drug abuse at some point is not only possible but likely. Treatment of chronic diseases involves changing deeply embedded behaviors and relapse does not mean treatment has failed. For a person recovering from addiction, lapsing back to drug use indicates that treatment and counseling need to be reinstated or adjusted or that another method of treatment should be tried.
Professional treatment enables people to counteract addiction’s powerful disruptive effects on their brain and behavior and to regain control of their lives.
It Is Possible To Lead a Drug-Free Life
In order to commit to sobriety, the person who is addicted will need to find positive ways to deal with life’s problems and avoid the triggers of their old lifestyle. During their initial months of sobriety, the craving for drugs can be strong, which makes it crucial to avoid anything that could spark a relapse. At The Discovery House, clients learn to overcome cravings when they occur.
It is important to realize that one is never completely “cured” of an addiction. For example, a recovering alcoholic is always aware that he/she could be tempted to have a drink and so will learn to take each day as it comes. This applies to all forms of addiction. Every addict knows that there is always a risk of returning to old ways, but proper support and building a new way of life will help.
So, is it possible to cure a drug or alcohol dependency? No, but through effective treatment and counseling by substance abuse experts at a qualified addiction rehab center, it is possible to lead a drug-free life.