Can addiction be cured?

Date: 2019. 04. 25. 10:10

t’s normal to wish for a special medicine or treatment to remove addiction from your life forever. You may even hear some company or other claiming to have finally created a cure. But the reality just doesn’t follow.

Addiction is treatable, and with the right support you can absolutely be able to build a new, substance-free life. We see it happen every day. You can get clean, and you can stay clean.

But “cure” is a specific term. Can addiction be cured? No, not like that. But first, let’s explain some definitions.
What does it mean to be cured?

When most people think of being cured of a disease or ailment, they imagine the disease completely removed from the body, never to be seen again. It’s complete. It’s permanent.
When it comes to a drug or alcohol addiction, this does not happen

Let’s use alcohol as an example. Alcoholism is generally defined by four key symptoms:

Craving (a strong desire or need to drink)
Loss of control (not being able to stop)
Physical dependence (withdrawal symptoms when you haven’t had a drink in a while)
Tolerance (needing increased amounts of alcohol to get buzzed)

As you work through recovery, you’ll lose your physical dependence on alcohol. Your body may even begin to return to a normal tolerance level. However, while your cravings may get significantly weaker, they may always be there. And if you ever return to drinking, you will still struggle to stop.
Abusing substances changes the reward pathways in your brain

For example, if someone drinks to settle anxiety, their body will get used to that pattern. When anxiety arises, so will the urge to drink. After you stop using, those pathways will remain. You’ll still get powerful cravings, and you’ll still be vulnerable to relapse.

This is why it is common in the medical and recovery world to acknowledge that there is no cure for addiction. Too many people have gotten clean, built a new life they love, declared they’re “cured,” and multiple drinks later find themselves back where they were a few years ago.