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Addiction Treatment Myths

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The stigma and myths surrounding addiction treatment are typically untrue.

Unfortunately, drug and alcohol addiction is very common, but most people do not get the treatment they need.

Obtaining treatment should not be scary or worrisome.

Instead, it should be an experience that will change the rest of your life.

If you are considering rehabilitation or you have tried other options without success, it is normal to feel scared or unsure about what is to come.

There are facts and myths when ir comes to rehab, so it is important to be able to tell fact from fiction when considering entering rehab.

Do not let your fear hold you back.

This decision may be able to help you make a serious change for the better.

With nearly 6 million people entering rehab each year, the more you know about treatment the more confident you will feel as you take the next step into the rest of your life.

What is Addiction?

Recognizing addiction can be difficult.

An addiction is defined as a chronic disease that affects the reward, motivation, and memory functions in the brain.

If you have an addiction you may crave substance and show other behavioral habits.

Often you will ignore other areas of life to fulfill or support your desire to use substances.

Signs of Addiction

These signs are often linked to one another.

Depending on how long your addiction has been occurring, the intensity of these signs increases.

Signs include:

  • Lack of control
  • Inability to stop using drugs or alcohol
  • Decreased socialization
  • Abandoning responsibilities
  • Ignoring relationships
  • Ignoring risk factors
  • Participating in risky behavior
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Tolerance, meaning needing a higher dosage for the same effect

If you do not have an addiction then typically you will be able to identify negative behavior and stop it.

If you have an addiction then this is not possible.

Instead of admitting you have an addiction, you may try to justify it and continue the behavior.

Myths About Addiction

Addicts Only Use One Substance

Although many people like to state that alcoholics and drug addicts are separate, this is not always the case. Often people believe that you choose either drugs or alcohol, but it is actually easy to be addicted to multiple substances, and most addicts mix substances.

Addiction is not always about the feeling, but rather the experience. This means you may use drugs or alcohol to alter your mood, so you will not need to stick to one substance. This makes it easier to get high plain and simple. Additionally, as your addiction grows you will need more substances to get that same feeling. This is called tolerance. Overall, addiction leads to experimenting with stronger drugs or combining drugs with alcohol.

Drug Addicts Are Bad People

You have most likely heard the stereotype of drug addicts being bad people. This is typically accompanied by the idea of a dirty person who does not care about anyone else and lives only to score. Addiction is believed to be a character flaw that only affects bad people. This is perpetuated by the idea that crimes are committed by individuals who are drunk or high.

This is simply not true and addiction has nothing to do with economics or intelligence. Not everyone suffering from addiction is abusing illegal drugs, you can become addicted to a prescription from your doctor. Some addicts are participating in drinking before dinner when they secretly are addicted. Addiction is never a goal, but it happens, and can often take hold of you completely.

Addicts Must Hit Rock Bottom to Get Help

Some people believe that addicts can only hit “rock bottom” in order to get help and go to treatment. Some people also believe that they won’t go into treatment if their situation is not bad enough. The truth is that there is no requirement when it comes to getting help. Although you may have a moment where you decide to get help, it does not mean that you have to be at “rock bottom”.

Addicts Can Stop Using if They Want to

Many people believe that if an addict wants to get clean, they can. This is so unfair to think that getting clean is simply going to rehab and stopping the use of drugs or alcohol. Some people even believe that ruining your life with addiction is a choice.

The truth is, addiction is not a choice. Although using drugs for recreational purposes can be a choice, once addiction has gotten ahold of you, you cannot turn back. Addiction can begin because of many reasons:

  • Curiosity
  • Peer pressure
  • Drinking alcohol casually
  • Societal instincts
  • Social pressures

Once addiction takes hold, it will become increasingly difficult to stop using.

Prescription Drugs Are Safe

This is one of the worst myths about addiction. Many people believe that there is a difference between street drugs and prescription drugs. Any medication you get from your doctor is not safe and many have a high potential for addiction. Sometimes you will need strong drugs to relieve pain from surgery, or from an injury, but overall, you can still become addicted.

Many prescription drugs are even more addictive than heroin. Especially prescription opioids. Even though these drugs have to be approved by the FDA before they can go on the market, they can still cause addiction. None of the FDA approval processes confirms that drugs are not addictive. Despite this, it does not matter how you take your drugs, once you get them from the doctor, they have no control. This can easily lead to addiction.

You Can’t be an Addict if You Have a Good Job

Typically the stereotype of a drug addict or alcoholic is that they will skip work and be fired. Although this can often occur due to addiction, it does not mean that addicts are unable to function in society.

Being an addict does not mean that you do not have responsibility. There are many functioning addicts who hold down a job and who are able to disguise their addiction. Maintaining good work performance as a cocaine or Adderall addict is almost expected, until the crash. The same can be said about alcoholics, who only drink after work.

It is very easy to disguise this behavior by going to work each day. Sometimes it is the only way to avoid suspicion of addiction or even to fuel your habit.

Relapse is a Sign of Failing

When you get to recovery you may feel that the worst case scenario is a relapse. Although relapse is something that you want to avoid, it occurs often. Over half of all people in recovery have relapsed at least once. Relapse is often part of recovery, which means that you need to learn to accept yourself and your recovery.

Beat the Stigma

Regardless of what you are struggling with or where you are going, there is always an opportunity to beat the stigmas of addiction.

The best thing you can do for yourself if you are struggling with addiction is to avoid falling into the myths.

The best investment you can make is in your health.

Contact us at Resurgence Behavioral Health to learn more about addiction itself, and to learn about our free insurance verification for treatment.

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