Ever since Charlie Sheen calmly stated on The Today Show that he had cured himself of his drug addiction by saying, “I closed my eyes and made it so with the power of my mind,” the question of whether or not it truly is possible to cure one’s own drug addiction without medical treatment has been a hot topic of discussion.
When taken in context with all the other bizarre statements made by the actor, the veracity of the statement is immediately called into question. Consider this – the same guy who professes to have “tiger blood” and to be “winning” despite getting fired and having to sell his home also claims to have cured his own drug addiction. But if the negative drug tests can be trusted, it does appear that he is no longer abusing drugs and alcohol. So what are we to believe?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse and Alcoholics Anonymous and most who provide substance abuse treatment agree that drug addiction is a disease and, as such, requires medical treatment. Someone who is truly addicted to drugs will have psychological cravings and a physical dependence – the physical dependence may or may not require treatment depending upon the drug of choice, but if the patient is to remain drug-free for any period of time, psychological addiction treatment is essential.
Drug addiction treatment is necessary because changes happen in the brain when the patient abuses drugs regularly and in large amounts. More and more of the drug is needed in order to achieve the sought after “high” and, as a result, patients risk overdose and permanent changes to cognitive function and neurotransmitter production. In some cases, patients are unable to feel happy or mitigate pain on their own after years of drug addiction. Others have become dependent on the drug to make them feel calm when they encounter stressful, irritating, depressing or upsetting situations. It’s important for these patients to get the psychological addiction treatment help they need to learn better and more effective coping skills that don’t include drugs and alcohol. Without learning how to deal with the changes that occurred in addiction, they will eventually relapse and likely fall back into their addictive behavior.
In short, no, it isn’t possible to truly cure oneself of drug addiction without the aid of medical and psychological treatment. While it is possible for some patients to stop using their drug of choice for a period of time, a true addict will eventually return to their addictive behavior without some form of support and treatment.
If you or someone you care about is living with drug and/or alcohol addiction, contact us today. We can help you find a treatment program that can speak to your drug history, secondary diagnoses, and medical and psychological issues. Call now.