A frequently asked question about drug and alcohol addiction is whether it can be cured. To begin with, this depends on the nature of addiction itself. There are still some people debating whether addiction is truly a disease or not.
The vast majority of experts in the field now believe that it is, due the facts that it creates physiological changes in the brain, and there is a genetic tendency toward addiction behaviors.
As a disease, alcoholism and drug addiction are usually considered to be a mental illness. Along with being a disease, addiction is also considered chronic. This means that it is a lifelong condition.
An individual may be in recovery from alcoholism, but there is always a chance that they can relapse sometime in the future. They might be able to maintain abstinence from alcohol for a number of years, then something happens and they return to it. It could be a traumatic life event like a death in the family or a divorce, or it could be something less significant. The individual must then return to a more intense addiction treatment program to get back in recovery.
Therefore, it is a disease that we have treatment programs and medications to help, but there is no cure as of yet. Scientists and addiction professionals are constantly working to find one, however.
The key to a possible cure lies either in the brain or in genetics. They may be able to create a medication that will change an addict’s brain chemistry so that drugs, alcohol, and behaviors that commonly become addictions will no longer be able to take hold of the individual’s life.
There is also a possibility of creating different treatments that work for individual substances. Finally, gene therapy is an option when researchers pin down the specific genes that cause an addictive personality. There is no way to tell when or if a cure will be developed, however.