Like other chronic diseases, addiction can be managed successfully. Treatment enables people to counteract addiction’s powerful disruptive effects on the brain and to regain control of their lives. The chronic nature of the disease means that relapsing or “slipping” is very possible. But it’s important to remember that relapse rates are similar to those of other chronic medical illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.
Relapse rates for addiction resemble those of other chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.
Unfortunately, when relapse occurs many consider treatment a failure. This is not the case: successful treatment for addiction typically requires continual evaluation and modification, similar to the approach taken for other chronic diseases. For example, when a patient is receiving active treatment for hypertension and symptoms decrease, treatment is deemed successful, even though symptoms may recur when treatment is discontinued. For individuals suffering from addiction, relapses don’t indicate failure. Rather, they indicate that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted, or that alternate treatment is needed.