On Substance.com, Maia Szalavitz discusses her own experiences with addiction, and examines the research that suggests addiction is less a chronic disease of the brain and more a passing creature of age and circumstance.
“The average cocaine addiction lasts four years, the average marijuana addiction lasts six years, and the average alcohol addiction is resolved within 15 years,” writes Szalavitz. “Heroin addictions tend to last as long as alcoholism, but prescription opioid problems, on average, last five years. In these large samples, which are drawn from the general population, only a quarter of people who recover have ever sought assistance in doing so (including via 12-step programs). This actually makes addictions the psychiatric disorder with the highest odds of recovery.”
“So why do so many people still see addiction as hopeless?” she asks.
Most People With Addiction Simply Grow Out of It: Why Is This Widely Denied? (Substance.com, September 29, 2014)