Substance Dependence Treatment Myths

Substance Dependence Treatment Myths

Debunking Substance Dependence Treatment Myths

For all of the good that drug and alcohol treatment does, it’s not often well understood. Even though it saves society $600 billion in health and social costs annually, as well as untold lives, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths about what treatment is and how it works. To help break down some of these myths for those interested in better understanding the process, the following:

  1. The Myth of the Junkie/Alcoholic

    The traditional stereotype of the substance abuser is becoming obsolete. And with that substance dependence treatment myths are also becoming a thing of the past. While there still may be strung out derelicts haunting back alleys of the worst parts of town, many addicts may appear to be fully functional lives. They are young and old, rich and poor, urban and country. They can hold jobs, maintain romantic relationships, and have ambition. They can also have none of those things but that’s the thing, substance abusers are all of us. They are found in all segments of society, in all classes and backgrounds. They may even be you.

  2. The Myth of Heroin

    Make no mistake: heroin is a powerfully dangerous drug. It is one of the most highly addictive drugs there is, second only to nicotine, and its use can lead to a whole host of physical problems. It has long been held up as the worst of all evils. But according to a recent study, alcohol causes more harm than either heroin or crack cocaine. Despite the fact that alcohol is both legal and socially acceptable, it is considered the most dangerous of all drugs.

  3. The Myth of Drug Addiction as a Choice

    Of course, in the beginning it is a choice. But as the use continues it goes from voluntary to compulsive. That’s because with time, drugs will make changes to the brain, specifically to the brain’s pathways involving reward. These changes make addiction both a biological and pathological process. During this process the brain will change and eventually affect the regions responsible for judgement, decision-making, learning, and memory. With these physical changes, certain behaviors will become “hardwired” including the urge to continue using the drug.

  4. The Myth of Curing Addiction

    While addiction is considered a disease, and a highly treatable one, it is also a chronic condition that can be sent into remission but not necessarily cured. Chemical dependency is lifelong disorder. Whenever an addict uses again there will be serious consequences to face. Even when clean and sober, recovery must be considered a continuous and ongoing process.

  5. The Myth of Needing to Hit Rock Bottom

    The question is, “what is rock bottom?” Rather than having to fall into a state of losing everything, rock bottom can simply mean that the person has had enough. Not everybody’s bottom will be the same. For some, the bottom can mean they’re not willing to lose anything; for others, the bottom could mean death before the seek help. The mentality that a person must sacrifice their job, relationships, etc. before they can make the decision to turn their life around is wrong. There is no reduced state that one must enter to make recovery easier. There is no benefit in waiting. The best time to take action will always be now.

  6. The Myth of Addiction as a Character Flaw

    To repeat: Addiction is a disease of the brain. It stems from multiple causes and can have multiple effects on the brain: these effects can range from changes in the molecules and cells that make up the brain to mood changes, changes in memory processes, and such motor skills as walking and talking. By continuing to push addiction as a character flaw, as it is often depicted in the media, the myth will continue to keep addicts in shame and discourage them for looking for the life-saving help they need.

  7. The Myth that Treatment Can’t Work Unless You Really Want It to

    This is the truth: No one really wants drug treatment. The most likely reasons that an individual will seek treatment is because they were ordered to either by the courts or a loved one. Many studies have shown that those who enter treatment under “pressure” do comparatively better in treatment no matter the reason why they sought treatment in the first place. So, even if for the person who doesn’t think they’re “ready” for treatment, rehab has still proven to be very effective.

  8. The Myth that Relapse Is the End of Recovery

    While relapses can be a common part of recovery, they don’t have to be a death sentence for your recovery. If you do relapse, it doesn’t mean you have to start over from the beginning again. Those who’ve been in a professional treatment program will have learned the tools to help them get back on track. The best way forward is to realize your mistake and get back into recovery immediately.

  9. The Myth of the Persistent Failure of Rehab

    As was said, relapses aren’t uncommon, even following professional treatment programs. The truth is, successful recovery takes time. Bumps along the road are to be expected. If clients who graduate from rehab are willing to follow up with aftercare programs and not be afraid of returning to treatment more than once if necessary, their chances for success are far better. Those who try to go it alone, outside of a treatment program, are much less likely to succeed at their sobriety.

  10. The Myth that All Treatment Programs Are the Same

    When choosing a treatment program you are left with many choices: Inpatient or outpatient? Short or long-term? Traditional 12 Step or non-12 Step? Faith-based or secular? You will need to find a program with methods and services that best suits your beliefs and needs, including the spiritual as well as the therapeutic. Each client should have an array of services and amenities tailored to their unique needs and conditions to ensure they receive the best treatment experience.

Request a Call

Submit the form below to receive a call from an treatment specialist

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to get help

Call to speak to a treatment specialist today.

Confidential 100% Confidential