Can addiction be cured?

“The difference between a patient in chronic pain and a person who is addicted is, with addiction, we expect a cure,” Dr. Lewis said. “We expect the patient will recover to the point that they can maintain some cured state—even if they’re on methadone; the goal is to integrate them back into society.

“That doesn’t happen with chronic pain,” she continued. “Chronic pain is progressive. It’s associated with a multisystem injury to the body, and it’s not going to be cured. So what we want to do is give that person the most optimal tools, in spite of what has happened to them. It’s a big difference in approach.” …

This is a good point, but I’m not sure that we should expect those who suffer from addiction to be “cured.”  Maybe “recovered” is a better term. Because I’ve had addictions that I’ve overcome, although I can’t say that I’m “addiction-free.” After all, I’m human, not a robot. (C’mon, sugar isn’t as bad as heroin, right?)

So, if someone’s using methadone to successfully treat a drug addiction, does that mean they’re “cured”?  Here’s what I’m saying:  Some drug addictions will require life-long management, so forcing the expectation of a “cure” on addicts is not the way to go. Just like the pain management industry should stop telling patients that their pain can be “cured.”

3 thoughts on “Can addiction be cured?

  1. Excellent point. While I’ve overcome some drug addictions myself (of course, I’d eventually find new ones – go figure), I don’t think there was EVER a point in time when I would’ve said I was “cured.”
    “Recovered” is a good word. Personally, I never called it anything beyond being “sober.”

    Liked by 2 people

      • Exactly! It’s true of literally everything that people feel like failures when presented with unrealistic standards, and the doctors definitely aren’t making this issue any better… To me it feels like the doctors do the equivalent of telling an aspiring guitarist that he’s a failure because he can’t play like Jimi Hendrix – it’s completely unfair!.

        Liked by 1 person

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