Drug addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by repeated use of a substance despite any harmful or negative consequences. Drug addiction causes negative effects to a person’s brain and body and negatively affects their behavior.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse on Understanding Drug Use and Addiction:
Many people don’t understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to. Fortunately, researchers know more than ever about how drugs affect the brain and have found treatments that can help people recover from drug addiction and lead productive lives. (NIDH)
Drug addiction is a lifelong progressive disease that must be treated daily, just like a person with diabetes or cancer.
What Causes Drug Addiction?
The exact cause of drug addiction is unknown. Several factors can come into play when trying to determine who may be at risk for addiction. Genetic, environmental, and developmental factors can all add to that risk.
The majority of people that develop an addiction to drugs have coexisting mental health disorders that have either not been diagnosed and not treated or diagnosed and mistreated. People with untreated mental health disorders will often use drugs as a form of self-medicating.
Some believe that drug addiction is genetic. If an individual has a parent or other family member that has struggled with addiction, then they are more likely to develop one. Some people can develop a drug addiction due to problems at home, work, or school. It could also be from hanging around others that are using drugs, or from experimenting with drugs at a young age.
Can a Person Be Cured of Drug Addiction?
Drug addiction is a disease. Being cured of a disease means the disease is completely gone from the body. You never see it or experience any symptoms again; it is permanently eradicated. Drug addiction cannot be cured.
Drug addiction can be managed with the proper treatment, and people do successfully recover, but there is no cure. Many times you will see a person that has obtained years of sobriety from drugs or alcohol. They get too comfortable and stop treating their disease. They may even tell people they are cured and find themselves experiencing a relapse after 20 years of being clean. It happens all of the time.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse asked “Can addiction be treated?”
Yes, but it’s not simple. Because addiction is a chronic disease, people can’t simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured. Most patients need long-term or repeated care to stop using completely and recover their lives. Addiction treatment must help the person do the following: stop using drugs, stay drug-free, and be productive in the family, at work, and in society. (NIDH)
As stated above, drug addiction is a lifelong and progressive disease that requires regular treatment. If it is not treated or mistreated, it can and most likely will result in death.
Evidence-Based Treatment for Drug Addiction
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