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Could Belief in Addiction “Cure” Lead to Relapse?

Addiction is more than simply using drugs or drinking alcohol. It encompasses someone’s lifestyle, habits, routines, history, genetics, and relationships. In other words, there is much more to addiction than meets the eye. This is why it is so important to resist the notion that there is a cure for addiction. When addicts — or their loved ones — ask, “Can addiction be cured,” the answer is not always what they want to hear. Why There is No Cure for Addiction Addiction has a physiological component, but that is not the only component that needs to be taken into consideration. Physiological diseases and conditions can often be cured. However, like some cancers, osteoarthritis, etc., addiction to drugs or alcohol can just be managed, not cured. The difference is in the semantics. A cure is something that erases the underlying problem, such as taking antibiotics to fight off a bacterial infection. The infection is essentially cured because it is gone. An addiction is not something that can go away. While the physiological signs of withdrawal from substances will subside, the addiction is still present because it is not as tangible as, say, a stomachache or the flu. Addictive behaviors have a psychological element. In effect, they can be managed with assistance and daily diligence. While this is not a cure, per se, it is a way for an addicted person to live his or her life without the debilitating consequences of giving in to a predilection toward alcohol or drug use and abuse. How Belief in a Cure Can Be Dangerous Believing there is a complete cure to addiction can lead to future problems, including relapse. This stems from the addict’s certainty that he or she will one day no longer have to even think about the addiction. Like a bug bite stops itching after cream is applied, the addict assumes the addiction can be eradicated. Consequently, the addict does not put in the work that is necessary to manage alcoholism or drug addiction; instead, he or she waits for a conclusion that cannot come. Additionally, after leaving rehab, many addicts return to their former lives without making any changes. Ultimately, this sets them up for failure, as it replicates the environment in which they fostered their addictions. Treatment Begets Management At reputable drug and alcohol treatment centers, there is no talk of cures to addiction, because they simply do not exist. Can an addiction be cured? No. But it can be handled appropriately. The key is to put into place the right behaviors so the addict is able to make smart choices. It takes a commitment, but offers hope to people who have fallen for the idea that addiction is somehow curable. If you or someone you care about wants information on treating a drug or alcohol addiction, we urge you to call us today.

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