The best data known regarding the amount of time necessary for an addiction to be cured depends on whether you are an optimist or a pessimist: is the ‘glass half empty’ or is the ‘glass half full?’ The ‘half-empty’ belief is that perhaps up to 50% of substance abusers with serious addictions will struggle with their addictions for the rest of their lives. As for the ‘half-full’ part, the belief is that a small percentage of substance abusers with serious addictions will eventually move past the addiction and completely leave it behind. If the substance abuser is blessed with a number of factors such as being in good mental health, has a strong family support system, or has a proven record for quitting other addictions (nicotine and caffeine), then this tends to predict a good outcome.
What is very clear from studies concerning substance abuse addictions, is that those who are unable to give up their addictions, face a lifetime of physical and mental suffering, which often end in a premature death. Substance abusers who get their addiction cured have a far, far better outcome. Substance abusers who have spent years using intoxicant, will generally have outcomes between the two extremes, basically they will live lives that are passable, but not what anyone would wish on their love ones.
Whether one ever recovers completely from their addiction is questionable. Especially if the substance being abused is heroin or crack cocaine. These two drugs, according to studies, rob the brain of its ability to feel pleasure for long periods once the abused substance has been stopped. These substances are capable of shrinking the brain’s area associated with and is essential for wise decision-making processes, which can cause momentary lapses in judgments and the addicts resistance against the urge to use again has failed. This explains why the majority, almost 95% of addicts relapse. The ‘glass half-empty’ belief is the prevalent belief among all medical personnel, because the belief that an addict can be ‘cured’ is a false way of thinking. The addict, once clean and sober, must, for the rest of their lives, stay vigilant.