A Vaccine Alone Won’t Treat Addiction

Posted by | Relapse Prevention, Treatment Programs, Wellness | August 07, 2015

Believe it or not, two doctors worked hard to develop a vaccine for cocaine addiction. It was a husband and wife team who came up with the vaccine after trying to find the answer to addiction for over 20 years. The vaccine they developed works by stimulating the immune system to attack the drug when it enters the body. For cocaine addicts, the vaccine would prevent the effects of the drug from taking place and slowly they would not be able to feel the effects of the drug.

For some, the idea of having a shot that would immediately eliminate the problems of addiction sounds wonderful. However, the reality is that recovery is much more than getting sober. It’s a process of improving your health, wellness, and quality of life. It’s making sure you have a safe place to live, healthy mind and body, a sense of meaning and purpose in your life, and a community of friends and family.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) “recovery from alcohol and drugs problems is a process of change through which an individual achieves abstinence and improved health, wellness, and quality of life.” Furthermore, SAMHSA includes four major areas of life that recovery needs to include:

  • -Health – Overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) as well as living in a physically and emotionally healthy way.
  • -Home – A stable and safe place to live that supports recovery.
  • -Purpose – Meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income and resources to participate in society.
  • -Community – Relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.

 

It’s clear from the definitions above that recovery is much more than getting sober. It’s a process of changing your life and becoming someone new.  It’s a process of discovering who you are – that person who doesn’t need alcohol or drugs to be happy or to manage their life. Recovery is about uncovering happiness and health inside of yourself.

A vaccine alone isn’t going to get you sober. Sure, it might sound good. It might be the answer at the start so that you’re no longer physically and psychologically dependent on the drug. However, once the withdrawal process is complete, there is much more to recovery that one needs to consider.

Furthermore, a vaccine for cocaine addiction has its limitations. It does not stop cravings and painful withdrawals can still occur. Although a vaccine can make the withdrawal process easier, it is not the only solution to ending an addiction. The many behavioral, psychological, and emotional issues that accompany addiction must still be tended to.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, contact a mental health provider. If you’ve heard of the vaccine and you’re interested in it, be sure to do thorough research on its pros and cons. Speak with your doctor and mental health provider about it. And if you decide to use it, don’t neglect the other aspects of recovery to stay sober.

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