Addiction is treatable, but not curable. If there were a cure for addiction, you would be able to get rid of it entirely. Treatment, on the other hand, helps you manage the disease and improve quality of life.
Like with other chronic conditions such as Diabetes—or other mental health disorders like Depression—managing addiction is an ongoing process. This is why many people say they are “in recovery” rather than “recovered.”
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is a “primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.” Addiction changes a person’s brain in a way that makes it difficult to stop using, even as the substance negatively affects the person’s life. Many consider relapse a normal part of recovering from addiction. Even when a person has remained sober for years, they may struggle with cravings.
It can be hard to come to terms with having a chronic condition. It is understandable to wish for a cure. One way to reframe it is that addiction recovery is an ongoing process of healing. Healing from addiction means prioritizing your physical, emotional, and mental health. Being part of a continuous healing process can teach you a lot about yourself, the people in your life, and the world around you. This makes being sober a gift, not a life sentence.
Sometimes people wish addiction were curable so that they could drink or use again. But being able to use substances isn’t a privilege. When you are in long-term recovery, you gain coping skills that help you get through difficult times sober. These skills are important, and will help make life fulfilling. Going through life numb or foggy from substances isn’t an advantage.
Because addiction is a chronic disease, treatment does not mean simply removing drugs or alcohol. Once you have medically detoxed, you will need to address the underlying issues that caused you to use—as well as learn new coping strategies. Coming to terms with past behaviors and finding the right tools to use in the future will help improve your quality of life.
Treatment looks different for each person. It may be some combination of inpatient or outpatient care, therapy, medication, and support groups.
While addiction isn’t curable, recovery is common. People with histories of addiction go on to live incredible lives—ones they wouldn’t have been able to imagine when they were using.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, recovery is possible. TruHealing Centers can help. At our facilities across the country, our staff—many of whom are sober themselves—will help you build the foundation for long-term recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.