Can addiction be treated successfully?
Yes. Addiction is a treatable disease. Discoveries in the science of addiction have led to advances in drug abuse treatment that help people stop abusing drugs and resume their productive lives.
Can addiction be cured?
Addiction need not be a life sentence. Like other chronic diseases, addiction can be managed successfully. Treatment enables people to counteract addiction's powerful disruptive effects on brain and behavior and regain control of their lives.
Does relapse to drug abuse mean treatment has failed?
No. The chronic nature of the disease means that relapsing to drug abuse is not only possible, but likely. Relapse rates (i.e., how often symptoms occur) for drug addiction are similar to those for other well-characterized chronic medical illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, which also have both physiological and behavioral components.
Treatment of chronic diseases involves changing deeply imbedded behaviors, and relapse does not mean treatment failure. For the addicted patient, lapses back to drug abuse indicate that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted, or that alternate treatment is needed.
What are the principles of effective addiction treatment?
Treatment approaches must be tailored to address each patient's drug abuse patterns and drug-related medical, psychiatric, and social problems. For more information on drug treatment, see Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide.
(Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse website. Unless otherwise specified, NIDA's products are in the public domain and can be copied as a whole without seeking permission from NIDA.)