The rates of success for contemporary addictions treatment are miserable. The vast majority of people who undergo it, whether at a treatment center or in the so-called recovery movement – AA, NA and their companion abbreviations – fail to improve (though if they keep trying, their chances of success increase). Those who enroll in a program do about as well as those who do not. Sometimes they do better. In any given attempt, most addicts who try to improve their situation do not achieve success. And within any given year, something like fifty thousand people in North America die of drug and alcohol use. This number does not include deaths from nicotine addiction, which claims the lives of half of all smokers, or from obesity (addiction to unhealthy eating), which will soon be the leading cause of preventable death in North America.
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