Does Addiction Last a Lifetime?

JourneyPure Staff

October 28, 2019

In the 1970s, the most popular drugs of choice included LSD, cocaine, and Quaaludes. It was during this decade that the “peace and love”-style use of drugs quickly turned dark.

In the 1980s, the impact of cocaine addiction became impossible to ignore. More people than ever, people were abusing this drug because it was affordable, available, and considered “cool” among A-listers. By the end of this decade, the American public was openly concerned about the direction drug use was taking in the country.

Although its use has been traced back as early as 1981, crack hit the scene big time in the 1990s. The use of this drug (which is a combination of pure cocaine and baking soda) reached epidemic proportions, impacting low-income communities most. Crack was dirt cheap and highly addictive. The concern that the public was experiencing in the 1980s magnified significantly when the crack epidemic was occurring.

Crack use continued throughout the 1990s, but both meth and heroin became highly desirable drugs.

By the turn of the century, Americans were being prescribed prescription painkillers like OxyContin and becoming hooked on them. Fast forward to today, where more than two million people in the U.S. are addicted to the very same painkillers, and some that are even more potent than anything the public could have imagined 20 years prior.

Painkiller addiction, which has increased rates of heroin addiction and, in turn, caused the opioid crisis we are currently experiencing, is currently claiming the lives of 130 Americans each day.

To summarize American drug use over the past 50 years, drugs went from being viewed as substances that could increase happiness, pleasure, and feelings of love to rapidly being seen as deadly substances that destroy lives.

Lifetime Addiction

What is Addiction and Does It Last a Lifetime?

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease of the brain. It impacts the circuitry in areas of the brain that are responsible for reward, stress, and self-control.

When someone is actively abusing drugs or alcohol, his or her brain is altering how it functions as a result of that use. Therefore, continued substance abuse can permanently damage the circuitry in the brain. Even if a person stops abusing drugs or alcohol, the damage that his or her use caused can remain.

But does this mean that someone who has the disease of addiction will have it for a lifetime?

Because addiction is a disease that has no cure, it is not something that someone who has it can “remove” from themselves. So, yes, addiction is something that lasts a lifetime.

However, whether a person’s addiction is active or not is a different story.

Some people find that they remain active in their addiction for the majority of their lives. Others end up getting into recovery and sustaining it much longer than they did their active addiction.

Either way, the disease of addiction is always present. That is why people who establish their recovery continue to do things such as attend 12-Step meetings and consult a therapist to keep their sobriety at the forefront of their priorities. Simply getting treated for addiction, finishing a program, and then going back to everyday life does not a recovered user make.

Fortunately, as opinions and science surrounding drug use have changed since the days of Woodstock, so have available treatment options. Even though there is still a stigma attached to the disease of addiction, the theory that it addiction is a choice is widely debunked. As a result, comprehensive, evidence-based treatment modalities have been developed and are currently treating countless of people throughout the country.

Get Professional Help Today

If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, call JourneyPure Lexington right now. We understand what you are going through and can help. Do not wait another day. Call us now.