There are many different misconceptions pertaining to problem drinking, drug addiction and substance abuse treatment and hopefully many mistaken beliefs and myths can be put to rest for people with questions regarding addiction and recovery.
Today there are so many young and older people who really do need to seek help for their alcohol or drug abuse before they become chronically addicted and there are also people in all age groups that are suffering daily from chronic addiction and in need of help.
The sooner a person receives help for their substance use the more effective their treatment will be and their health risks can be minimized. If you or someone you know needs to seek treatment for substance abuse, reach out for help. There are excellent support groups, fellowship programs, addiction counselors and therapists and treatment programs available today that will help make your path of recovery a reality.
Below are a list of mistaken beliefs and myths about substance abuse, treatment and help that needs to be addressed.
- People who are dependent on drugs are just lazy and don't have the 'willpower' needed to quit - Not true, the reward system in the brain becomes altered due to continued drug exposure and the user experiences an uncontrollable compulsive need to reuse along with powerful cravings. Recovery can be achieved but it takes a lot more than just 'willpower' to overcome drug or alcohol addiction.
- Recovering from substance abuse and addiction only requires detox - Not true, detoxification isn't treatment; it's the process in which the body rids itself of the drug(s) that has been abused for a prolonged period of time. Follow up treatment is necessary after the detoxification process is completed such as behavioral based therapy and medication if needed, in order to maintain sobriety for the long term.
- Marijuana isn't addictive - Not true. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) using marijuana for a long period of time can lead to addiction. Many people have reported that symptoms of withdrawal included irritability, loss of weight and problems sleeping when they stopped using marijuana. During this time period, people may tend to relapse due to cravings and symptoms of withdrawal.
- A person has to drink every day in order to have a drinking problem - Not true,, whether a person drinks every day, once a week or even once a year, if they're drinking has a negative impact on their life, it's a problem. You don't have to be an alcoholic to have a drinking problem.
- A person has to hit 'rock bottom' before they can truly recover from substance abuse - Not true, the longer a person goes without seeking help when they're addicted the harder their treatment will be on them. This isn't to say their recovery won't be achievable but treating long term addiction is more difficult.
- There is nothing anyone can do for the addict until they're ready to seek help on their own - Not true, a Family Intervention overseen by a professional Substance Abuse Interventionist can be very successful in helping the addict see their need for treatment. They also assist the addict in receiving the best form of treatment available that will be the most effective for their own personal needs.
- Receiving treatment is a waste of time if the addict isn't ready - Not true, plenty of people have gone into a treatment program due to the legal system, in order to save a relationship or to keep their job and have overcome their addiction and are successfully managing their recovery every day. Many people are able to break through their denial once they understand how their substance use is negatively affecting their lives. Effective substance abuse programs, education and support has helped thousands of people see their need for help and learn how to manage their daily recovery after they reluctantly entered a treatment program.
- Family members and loved ones can't begin to heal until the addict in their life receives help - Not true, we can't control what others do we can only control how we feel and react and making our own personal changes helps us to heal and recover. Attending support groups like Alanon, or Nar Anon, or receiving counseling or therapy is a positive step for loved ones to take toward their own healing process whether or not the addict is receiving help.
- Substance abuse treatment programs are all alike - Not true, there are a variety of different treatment programs available today for treating alcohol and drug addiction and each one has their own unique programs and approach to recovery. What's important is to find a substance abuse program that you're comfortable with and that will focus on your specific needs. Just because a specific treatment center or program was effective for one person doesn't mean it will be for you.
- Once a substance abuse treatment program is completed the individual is fully cured of their addiction - Not true, there is no cure for addiction it's a lifelong disease that needs to be managed daily. That's why an effective recovery program is so necessary for people who have a problem with alcohol or who are addicted to drugs. They need to learn how to manage cravings, how to avoid a setback and how to deal with stress and daily challenges that crop up. No one is ever cured of their addiction but they can successfully live their life substance free once they know how to manage their daily recovery.
- If a setback or relapse occurs after a person stops drinking or using drugs, it's over and they should just give up - Not true, none of us are perfect and sometimes for various reasons people do experience a relapse after they stop drinking or using drugs. It's very common for people to experience a setback if they were dependent on drugs or alcohol for a long period of time before they received help. Sometimes people need more follow-up treatment, suffer from mental health disorders that were never diagnosed and treated, or didn't receive the exact form of treatment that was most beneficial for them personally. No matter what the reasons are, never give up and seek more help if you need to.