neuroscience - How Neuroscience Predicts The Spontaneous...

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How Neuroscience Predicts The Spontaneous Remission Of Addiction What Is Spontaneous Remission Of Addiction? Standard addiction treatment programs and 12 step fellowships like Alcoholics Anonymous have promoted the view that addiction is a chronic progressive disease which always gets worse and can never be cured except through a treatment program or a lifelong membership in a 12 step fellowship like AA or NA. However, the fact is that the research evidence tells us that the opposite is true. The "hijacked brain" model of addiction was created to explain this erroneous assumption that addiction is a chronic and progressive disease; many people in the addictions field sincerely believe that this assumption is true. But the reality is that the normal outcome of addiction is for people to overcome it on their own, without a rehab program, and without a twelve step group. The "hijacked brain" model is simply wrong. NESARC (the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions) is the largest survey study of Alcohol Use Disorders ever conducted in the US. NESARC was conducted by the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) which is a US government agency. NESARC found that three fourths of all people with Alcohol Dependence (what lay people call "alcoholism") overcame it and that of those who overcame it, three fourths did it on their own, without AA, and without any rehab or treatment program (NIAAA 2009). Only one fourth did not get better. Experts generally agree (New York Times 1994) that cigarettes are the single most difficult addiction to quit, even more difficult than heroin , yet the CDC (CDC 2004) tells us that there are now more ex smokers than current smokers: most people eventually overcome addiction to cigarettes and most people do it on their own (Peele 1991). Studies of heroin addicts also tell us that the majority recover on their own without rehab or the 12 steps (Winick 1962; White 1996). In fact, there is not adequate evidence that people who go to rehab or 12 step groups are more successful at overcoming addictions than those who do it on their own (Fletcher 2013). The good news is that is the majority of people will overcome addictions on their own, regardless of what they are addicted to. The bad news is that while some people may kick addictions fairly quickly, for other people they can last a long time; it can take ten or twenty years or more for some people to decide to kick an addiction, whether they go to rehab or not. The data tell us that the older you are the more likely you are to quit an addiction. Moreover, the older you are the less likely you are to take up an addiction. The NESARC data illustrated in Figure 1) below show that addiction is directly age-related (NIAAA 2008). Addictions decline with age because people quit them on their own--only a tiny minority of people with an addiction die from it or overcome it via addiction treatment.
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Page 2 of 15 Figure 1) The NIAAA cross sectional data presented in Figure 1 is also confirmed by longitudinal studies.
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