Thank you to the folks at Jackson Labs, read the latest blog from the CHLB.
Vivek Kumar is an assistant professor at the Jackson Laboratory where he uses mouse genetics to study behavior and behavioral abnormalities, including addiction, ADHD and depression. Kumar wrote an informative OpEd recently on how we should use science to understand addiction. He is clear about one thing: Addiction is a chronic illness. He compares addiction with two other chronic illnesses: diabetes and hypertension.
Roughly 40 percent to 60 percent of addicts will stay clean 12 months after entering treatment. Similarly, 30 percent to 70 percent of diabetes and hypertension patients will experience reoccurrence of symptoms within a year of treatment onset.
However, the key difference is how this is perceived. In the case of diabetes and hypertension, the fact that treatment suppressed symptoms is considered a success, even if the symptoms reoccur. But with addiction, the reoccurrence of symptoms is seen as a sign that the treatment has failed.
Finally, there is a massive discrepancy in access to treatment. Imagine if insulin treatment for diabetics were abruptly stopped because of a state mandate, if diabetics had to drive two hours to receive a shot of insulin, or if their treatment facility suddenly shut down. This is exactly what addicts are experiencing in Maine. Furthermore, many insurance companies cover acute detox and stabilization but provide limited or no long-term treatment options for this chronic condition.
We hope you take a few moments and read the full article.