Addiction is engaging in behavior for perceived benefits despite the possibility of dire consequences. This behavior commonly applies to drug and alcohol use. Addiction is complex and involves many factors related to the brain and behavior, including motivation, memory, reward, and reinforcement. Addicts experience intense cravings and a lack of control, which disrupts their daily lives. However, researchers report that those who manage their addiction and stay clean for five years are no more likely to engage in addictive behaviors than the general population. Management of addiction is possible, but it is a difficult road, and relapse is common.
Stopping drug or alcohol use is not easy. People who are trying to get clean can relapse, which means they return to drug use. This is a normal occurrence on the way to recovery. Some people relapse multiple times before they are able to successfully manage their addiction. If someone relapses, it is very important that they return to treatment quickly. Relapse often brings feelings of guilt and anger that make it more likely for someone to start using again and keep it a secret.
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