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Author: Justin Mckibben
Is there a cure for addiction? Anyone who has felt the pain of addiction, or witnessed the suffering of a family member or someone they love, there is of course that hope deep down that there is an answer; a solution that will save their life and remove their difficulties.
In this age of innovation and technology we have an incredible amount of information at our disposal, constantly. Scientific and medical advancements have never happened so fast, and we have created a whole new way to share information. There is almost no task or technique that we cannot learn through blogs and online videos. And in the world of instant everything it only makes sense that we want a quick and effective solution.
So even when it comes to the more difficult obstacles we are struggling to overcome, we often hope to find an easy answer. Sadly, science and technology have not yet found a cure for addiction, by the strictest definition.
What is a cure?
When looking for the answer to “is there a cure for addiction” we should look at a few strict definitions associated with the question.
A cure is defined as the end of a medical condition. A cure has also been referred to as the substance or procedure that ends the medical condition, such as:
- A surgical operation
- Change in lifestyle
- A philosophical mindset
Any of which that helps end a person’s sufferings.
So if we look at that definition from the beginning, is there an end to addiction? Well first, take into account the difference between an end and a remission.
Remission is a temporary end to the medical signs and symptoms of an incurable disease. But what is an incurable disease?
This is an illness where there is always a chance of the patient relapsing, no matter how long the patient has been in remission.
So is addiction an incurable disease?
Let us look at the definition of addiction as provided by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), which states:
“Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.
Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.”
Based on this analysis, addiction does qualify as an incurable disease because addiction is chronic, progressive and relapsing. However, it is important to note relapse is not a requirement. With any incurable disease relapse is a possibility, but it can also be avoided.
Don’t give up yet, because an essential part of the recovery process is relapse prevention.
Recovery is Remission for Addiction
While there may be no cure for addiction per-say, there is treatment. Various programs and support groups have been specifically designed to put an active addiction into remission. So when we talk about recovery from addiction, a program of recovery is essentially how you can effectively treat addiction.
As much as we wish there was a magic medicine that would make it disappear, science has yet to accomplish this.
The closest thing to the definition of a “cure” is that there are usually ways to implement a change in lifestyle and/or philosophical mindset that put an end to the symptoms of addiction. The fact that the definition of a “cure” acknowledges the power of lifestyle and mindset is a tremendous thing.
In a comprehensive treatment program for addiction the hope is to not only separate the individual from the substance through a safe medical detox, but also to address the deeper issues. After all, drugs and alcohol are only symptoms themselves; there are much more powerful components at play, which is why there is no magic pill.
There is a Solution
Addiction is an affliction that is very personal, even though thousands upon thousands of people struggle with it every day. It may be similar somehow, but it is also intensely intimate. There is no “one size fits all” answer to it. Even programs that have a consistent outline will admit there is no monopoly on recovery. Yet, there is a solution; active recovery.
That is exactly why the holistic approach utilized by facilities like Palm Partners is designed so each individual can create a personalized recovery plan to help them find what path they will take toward an effective solution. Part of that is powerful and supportive relapse prevention.
We want you to be actively engaged in your recovery, or that of your loved one, so that you can have the change in lifestyle and/or mindset that will change everything. Through holistic healing, cognitive behavioral therapy and various forms of personal development we hope to help you find your solution.
There may not be an instant cure, but there is treatment. Choosing an educational, caring and inspiring treatment program can help establish the foundation needed to build lasting recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Denial not only affects the person with the addiction problem, it also affects those around them and, especially the addict’s parents. Even when the signs become impossible to ignore, no parent wants to admit that their child is an addict. The sooner you are willing to see what’s really going on, though, the sooner you can learn ways to cope. Here are 4 hard truths only parents of addicts understand.
#1. Parents Are Enablers
As parents, you only want what’s best for your children. And all through raising them, you were their #1 fan, cheerleader, and advocate – no doubt. But, although they’re still your children, they are also addicts. This is a game-changer. You don’t want to see your child struggling to eat or afford other basic needs but, by giving them money or allowing them to live with you, you are their enabler. What this means is that you will only prolong their drug use. They may never want to get clean but, as long as you’re footing their bills, they certainly have no motivation to even consider that their life has become unmanageable and perhaps might want to do something about it. Think of it like this, when you enable your addicted child, you are actually loving them to death. This sounds harsh but, it’s true. By feeding their habit, directly or indirectly, you enable them to continue using and, with every use there is risk.
#2. Parents Can’t “Fix” Their Children
Yes, treatment can be effective but there is no “cure” for addiction. You can send them to rehab but, unless they are willing to change, treatment might not “work” the first, second, eighth time around. This can certainly be frustrating, expensive, and crushing for a parent to deal with. It’s a bitter pill to swallow but, addiction is a chronic, progressive, relapsing disease. That means that your child might do well for a time and then might backslide. They might bounce right back or they might stay “out” for several years before trying to get clean again. There’s no guarantee for treatment and recovery.
#3. Your Child is a Liar and Maybe Even a Criminal
Another hard truth about being the parent of an addict is that your child is definitely a liar and even possibly a criminal. It doesn’t matter that you “raised ‘em right.” The bottom line is that drug addiction is a desperate and ugly disease that will have us do whatever it takes to support our habit. I come from a two-parent, middle-class household and I graduated college with two degrees. In the height of my active addiction, I had committed not only misdemeanors but also felony offenses. It certainly didn’t feel good doing those things but, I was so very desperate that I felt I had no other choice.
#4. You’re Dealing with Both a Child and an Adult
Although adults, your addicts are likely to think and act like children a lot of the time. It is said that drug use arrests the emotional maturity level of the addict at the age they began their drug use. So, for example, your addicted son or daughter might be 25 years old but, they started using drugs at 14 years old so, in many ways, they still think and act like that 14-year-old. This can be a very difficult concept to understand. Our world recognizes chronological age, not maturity level and, as the parent, you have to be able to do that, too. An addict can only operate in the “here and now” with no real reflection on the past nor any goals or dreams for the future. As the parent of an addict, you have to be able to see things in this way, too.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
I came down for treatment but I have to get back to my hometown because my daughter needs me. I’m gonna do detox and then inpatient. My question is when’s the soonest I can go back?
I’ve heard it said many times and even seen it happen to a lot of people: whatever you put before your recovery is the first thing that you will lose. Sounds harsh, I know. But I’ve seen it happen over and over. Recovery isn’t a one-time deal; you don’t just get some treatment and boom! You’re cured. It takes time to get all the junk out of your system and then to make the fundamental changes necessary in order to begin to recover from your active addiction and begin to re-build your life. I get it: you have a kid who needs her parent. But, you truly can’t “be there” for her – even if you’re there physically – until you take some time for yourself and give yourself a chance to get better. Anything less than that will be you being only a part-time parent; there’s just no way you can be your 100%. The bottom line is this: take as much time as you possibly can to put towards your recovery. If you’re on leave from a job and have the option to take more time off (as was the case for me), then take it. Someone is obviously taking care of your daughter while you are away. Make plans to extend your original arrangement. Anything and everything is possible if you are committed.
I just turned 21 and I can’t imagine not going out with friends to the bar from time to time. I was never a big drinker and, before I started using harder stuff, I used to smoke weed regularly but it never caused any problems. If my DOC (drug of choice) was heroin, can I still smoke weed or drink beer?
First of all, this may sound strange but, being an addict has nothing to do with drugs. Drugs were just our way of dealing with ourselves and with life until that stopped working and got out of control – whether we ended up in jail, a hospital, a psych ward, whatever. So, my advice is to stay away from everything, even if you don’t think you had a problem with it.
Also, I want to assure you that people your age and even younger have been able to get and stay clean. I can understand where you’re coming from – it’s hard to imagine living the rest of your life and not be able to drink or smoke. And it’s hard to imagine that you will have a different set of close friends that don’t need alcohol, marijuana, or any other drugs. But these things are possible. You may have heard it said: a drug, is a drug, is a drug, is a drug. What that means for people like us, people who have experienced addiction is that we can’t use any substances that are mood- or mind-altering. To do so will lead us down the same treacherous path that brought us to where we were before we decided to get clean: broken and desperate.
I’ll share a quick story with you: it was the last birthday I “celebrated” before I decided to get clean (and this was one of the leading factors in me getting help). It fell on a Saturday which was perfect; that meant I could get really messed up and have some time to recover before work on Monday. Anyway, I decided I would get some Molly (MDMA) in order to enjoy my birthday. Well, it wasn’t very strong and only gave me a slight buzz. From that moment on, I was on a warpath for my DOC (heroin) even though, at the time, I was trying not to do any – because I thought heroin was my problem. Eventually, I got my hands on some really strong black tar (which I had never had before) plus several other substances and, long story short, I woke up in the hospital Monday morning. The point of my story is this: anything I introduce into my system that will give me any kind of buzz is going to set off a chain reaction in my brain that will have me go to whatever lengths in order to get more and more high. So, no. No weed. No beer.