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Chronicity

The word chronicity can imply many things when related to substance use and addiction. Most typically, it references the chronic nature of addiction and the reoccurrence, or the more stigmatizing term relapse, of the illness. Recent studies confirm that the majority of people with severe and persistent substance use disorders (e.g., substance dependence as defined in the revision of the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) who achieve a year of stable recovery do so only after three or four treatment episodes over the span of many years. To society, this appears as relapse, is often equated with patient failure in treatment, and is not viewed as a medical reoccurrence of a chronic illness. However, ...

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