Based on a detailed analysis that involved many National health interviews, around 5.3-15% of adults in the general U.S. population are in remission from substance use disorders. These rates are a conservative estimate, however, with the number possibly being as high as 25 million people.
The question is: What percentage of those individual who develop an addiction disorder will actually achieve recovery or remission? According to a recent study, most drug abusers start using in their early 20s, but gradually achieve remission. Find out about the top 7 ways a drug addict achieves perpetual remission.
Number 1: Start Safely
Detoxification (detox) is a safe approach to coming off drugs and/or alcohol. Weaning one’s self from substances like opiates or methamphetamines should be done in a clinical setting because withdrawal syndrome is so severe.
Number 2: Form a Support Network
Most addicts who achieve remission will tell you that it is important to have friends and family support. A recovering addict should cultivate a healthy, caring environment to break the cycle of addiction. Join AA or NA, so you can make friends and be around sober individuals. Seek out church groups and community services that will help you reintegrate into society.
Number 3: Make the Right Choices
Find a rehabilitation program that employs qualified health professionals to treat you. These people include psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians, and mental health counselors who are certified to work with substance abusers.
Number 4: Face all Challenges Head On
Address every issue that arises during recovery. According to one study, around 40% of addicts also suffer from depression and other mental health issues. Be sure to address these challenges in therapy and ask your healthcare provider for medications. Attending therapy sessions and going through counseling will help prevent relapse and maintain remission.
Number 5: Avoid Triggers
Cravings and urges are horrible for a recovering addict. Triggers are situations, events, and things that make you want to use again. It is important to use your learned coping techniques to avoid triggers to stay in remission.
Number 6: Manage Expectations
Recovery involves being realistic, humble, and accepting of how much work is ahead of you. In addition, you need to forgive yourself, but it is also important to take responsibility for your actions and ask others to forgive you for things you have done. If you want to maintain relationships, you will need to earn people’s trust again.
Number 7: Use Naxalone, Suboxone, or Vivitrol
Medications are used to eliminate opiate withdrawal symptoms and curb cravings for certain substances. These drugs include Naxalone, Suboxone, and Vivitrol. Depending on your insurance carrier, ask your healthcare provider which is best for you.
The active ingredient in Suboxone and Naxalone is buprenorphine, which has a stronger affinity to your brain’s opiate receptors than actual opiate drugs. Vivitrol is a monthly injection of Naltrexone that is a powerful opiate blocker. This drug keeps people from relapsing and is showing much promise for those who wish to stay in remission. An important thing about Vivitrol is that clients must be fully detoxified before beginning injections. If a person has even tiny amounts of opiates in his/her system, then Naltrexone could cause a full, painful withdrawal, which could be quite dangerous.
Price RK, Risk NK, Spitznagel EL (2001). Remission from drug abuse over a 25-year period: patterns of remission and treatment use. American Journal of Public Health, 91(7), 1107-1113.
White, WL (2011). Recovery/Remission from Substance Use Disorders from Substance Use Disorders An Analysis of Reported Outcomes An Analysis of Reported Outcomes in 415 Scientific Reports, 1868-2011. Retrieved from: