Do most alcoholics and addicts eventually recover?

For many decades, the US has been at war with drug dealers to stop the spread of illicit drugs throughout the nation. At the same time, thousands of addiction treatment centers have been waging war against the addictions that occur because the war on drugs has not been successful.

The war against addiction has been well documented. For many decades, organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute on Drug Abuse have been reporting drug and alcohol addiction numbers. How bad could the numbers possibly be? A National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) was released most recently for the year 2017. According to the survey, just under 20.0 million adults were suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. Of that number, 8.5 million also reported suffering from some type of mental health disorder.

The CDC reported in 2019 that there had been 71,000 and 67,000 overdose deaths in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Given the opiate addiction epidemic the country has been battling over the last 2+ years, it’s a good bet the 2019 and 2020 numbers are going to show significant increases over prior years. All of the data raises dozens of very important questions about addiction treatment. One chief concern would be are most alcoholics and addicts ever really going to recover from their addictions? Let’s investigate.

Do most alcoholics and addicts eventually recover?

Before the turn of the century, historic relapse rates for drug and alcohol sat at an alarming 70% of the people who had gone through treatment. If nothing else, that number should conjure up notions of just how insidious drug and alcohol addictions can be. The good news is recent numbers paint a little better picture. According to the consensus within the addiction treatment community, the relapse rates over the last few years have fallen into the 40% to 60% range. The bad news is almost 60% of all relapses occur within the first few weeks of sobriety. So, do most alcoholics and addicts eventually recover?

While the numbers are a bit inconclusive on this question, the likelihood is most (at least 51%) of all drug addicts and alcoholics will fully recover from their addictions. The bad news is it might take a majority of them more that one pass through treatment before a lasting recovery takes hold. Should this be considered a reflection on the ability of addiction treatment professionals to do their job? Absolutely not. Addiction treatment professionals work hard to help addicts learn the truth about their addictions.

These hardworking therapists work equally hard at helping clients develop coping skills that the clients can employ to stop relapses. Unfortunately, the power of any addiction is going to require a person in recovery to be diligent about their recovery 24/7/365. Therein lies the problem. It only takes a little slip for someone to fall back into the cycle of addiction. Here’s a list of common reasons why people in recovery relapse:

  • Disappointments in personal relationships
  • A death in the family
  • Difficulties at work or school
  • Financial problems
  • Health problems
  • Putting oneself in close proximity to drugs/alcohol
  • Testing boundaries

There is no effort here to paint a dire picture about recovery. Most people do eventually recover from their addiction problems. The people who successfully put their addiction issues behind them seem to have a couple of things in common. First, they seem to have great support from family, friends and even other people in recovery. The other thing that seems to be common among people who can maintain sobriety is the ability and desire to be diligent. They always seem to remember who they are and how quickly things can go bad. They always stay focused on the fact they can never use drugs or drink again. While it’s appropriate to feel bad about the ones who never seem to find lasting recovery, it’s necessary to admire the ones who do. Your initial concern should not be on whether or not treatment is going to help you.

You need to focus on how bad things could get without treatment. You have to give the treatment a chance. We are here to help you with that. You can start your journey towards recovery by calling us at 833-762-3764. With that one simple call, we can bring you in and give you the tools you will need to regain your life. If you dedicate yourself to the process and your subsequent sobriety, addiction will never have to be part of your life again.