After many years and numerous studies done on the subject of addiction, researchers feel that drug addiction and alcohol addiction are both similar in that they are diseases. Just like diabetes, addiction is a disease that is a life changing event.
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction are Diseases
A diabetic will constantly need to monitor what he eats and avoid certain foods and drinks. A diabetic may also need to take medication. From time to time, a diabetic may have problems which will require hospitalization to get the disease under control. This can also be said of drug addicts or alcoholics.
Sobriety Will Require Making Changes
Both drug addicts and alcoholics will need to make major life changes in order to keep the addiction disease under control. Sobriety is something that must be worked at each and every day. This may include avoiding certain social functions or people that encourage drug and alcohol abuse. In addition, studies show that 80% of addicts will need to go to rehabilitation within a year of official recovery. It may take several detox treatment plans for the disease to be under control.
Drug and Alcohol Cravings
Many drug and alcohol users relapse and begin to use again. This could be due to the changes that happen in the brain during usage, which may not reverse once the addict stops drinking alcohol or using a particular drug.
Experts call these cravings relapse triggers. Not only can cravings trigger a relapse, but seeing certain people or feeling certain emotions can also be triggers. Those that do relapse due to triggering often do so to the extreme. Their usage may be worse than it ever was before their first rehab stint.
Research on Relapse Usage
Researchers have done studies on lab rats using alcohol. In one study, researchers stopped the alcohol and allowed the rats to detox. The researchers then gave the rats access to alcohol. In the study, rats that experienced the detox drank at least 50 percent more after the detox than they did before they went through the detox experience. Of course, this does not mean that addicts should not go to detox, it simply means that addicts should be very careful about using drugs and alcohol after going to rehab.
Some addicts gradually begin to use either drugs or alcohol after detox. These addicts usually convince themselves that “just a little” is not a problem and that they can control their usage. The bad thing is that the addict cannot stop with just a little. Soon, they find that they have crossed the line and that their addiction is again controlling them.
The Cure for Cravings
The help of a drug and alcohol rehab program is usually necessary for addicts to make a full recovery. For long term management, it is necessary for addicts to learn to abstain and to ride out cravings and wait for the urges to subside rather than acting upon them. Addicts must also learn to identify relapse triggers. Once a person has done this, he or she is on the path to recovery.