Addiction can disrupt your life and the lives of those around you. Whether you’re struggling with addiction or have started your journey to recovery, addiction can cause feelings of loneliness and desperation. At some point in your recovery – or maybe several points – you may find yourself asking: “Isn’t there a cure?!”

Take it from the experts at the National Institute of Health: 

“Like other chronic diseases such as heart disease or asthma, treatment for drug addiction usually isn’t a cure. But addiction can be managed successfully. Treatment enables people to counteract addiction’s disruptive effects on their brain and behavior and regain control of their lives.” [Citation]

Addiction is a Chronic Disease

The debate around the nature of addiction (whether or not it is a choice or series of choices or a medical condition) has been definitively settled. Experts on health and wellness categorize addiction as a chronic disease – like type II diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. In extensive studies, scientists and health researchers have found that, like these other chronic diseases, addiction and addictive behavior is influenced by environmental (sometimes called behavioral or habitual) and genetic influences. In fact, most addiction is caused by the interaction of environmental and genetic influences.

Think of addiction like another chronic disease – heart disease. Heart disease can get worse if you don’t maintain a healthy diet, avoid smoking, and participate in regular exercise. But genetic traits expressed in your family history also play a major role in the development of cardiovascular diseases. These findings mean that addiction does not have a cure, but they also mean that addiction is treatable and manageable. 

How Do You Treat or Manage Addiction?

Effectively treating and managing addiction is a long-term commitment. The best treatments for addiction usually combine medication (as appropriate) and behavioral therapy or counseling. Managing addiction usually involves developing a lifelong support system of family and friends, continuing therapy, and/or attending peer-support groups for accountability.

When addiction is severely disrupting your life, inpatient treatment at a certified addiction treatment center may be the best mode of intervention. Inpatient therapy involves a stay as a resident in a treatment facility and participating in a therapeutic treatment plan overseen by qualified addiction treatment professionals. These programs are often short-term and allow you to learn more about your addiction, create healthy coping mechanisms, plan for long-term sobriety, and craft a plan to build your support network when you return to your daily life.

Alternatively, you could receive outpatient treatment from an addiction treatment center. Many qualified treatment centers, including Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center, offer outpatient options that allow you to continue your daily living activities at home while receiving intensive therapeutic services to help you on your journey to recovery. These programs often include meeting with a mental health or addiction treatment professional or therapist and participating in community-based treatment.

Does Relapse Mean Treatment Has Failed?

On their journeys to recovery, many people experience relapse – but that is not a sign that treatment has failed or therapy is not working. In fact, relapse rates for people recovering from addiction align with relapse rates for other chronic diseases. Relapse can be triggered by a number of things – stress, anxiety, exposure to addictive behavior, difficult or challenging emotions, and more.

The best way to avoid relapse is to make a plan for how to prevent it – and stick to it! Include in your plan what you will do if you experience relapse. Work with a therapist or qualified counselor to identify potential triggers and plan to avoid or cope with them. Then, share your relapse plan with trusted members of your support network so they can help you keep yourself accountable.

Contact Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center Today

If you’re looking for help with an addiction or to continue your recovery journey, look no further than Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center. Our caring professionals are highly qualified and help people in recovery with individualized treatment, recovery, and relapse prevention programs. Call us today to start or continue your journey to long-term recovery from addiction.