because it’s boring? But no, this is a great reason for both friends and governments not to immediately leap to, “Maybe you have a problem and need help,” when somebody has their first realization that they have maybe strayed into 1 Party 2 Many territory. I’ve made the over-interventiony mistake at least once (I think it’s fairly normal for those of us who actually did need to completely quit drinking/using) so it’s worth keeping in mind that most people who think, “Whoa okay, I need to get it together and cut back,” actually do.
…According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.” However, that’s not what the epidemiology of the disorder suggests. By age 35, half of all people who qualified for active alcoholism or addiction diagnoses during their teens and 20s no longer do, according to a study of over 42,000 Americans in a sample designed to represent the adult population.
The average cocaine addiction lasts four years, the average marijuana addiction lasts six years, and the average alcohol addiction is resolved within 15 years. Heroin addictions tend to last as long as alcoholism, but prescription opioid problems, on average, last five years. In these large samples, which are drawn from the general population, only a quarter of people who recover have ever sought assistance in doing so (including via 12-step programs). This actually makes addictions the psychiatric disorder with the highest odds of recovery.