There are many myths out there when it comes to addiction and substance abuse treatment. Many people have misconceptions on what exactly addiction is and how to go about treating it. The following are common myths about your addiction, treatment and the recovery process.
Addiction is a Voluntary Behavior
One of the biggest myths is that addiction is a voluntary behavior. Yes, when you start abusing drugs or alcohol these are voluntary actions. However as time goes on and their drug and alcohol abuse increases, the individual goes from a voluntary user to a compulsive user. This is because the prolonged, excessive, use of drugs and alcohol causes changes in brain chemistry. These changes can be mild in some ways, dramatic in others, resulting in compulsive and uncontrollable drug and alcohol abuse.
Addiction is a Character Flaw
Addiction is a disease that directly affects the way the brain functions. The affects of this disease on brain function varies according the substance abused. Drug and alcohol abuse changes the molecules and cells that make up the brain, this can result in mood changes, memory loss, and even impaired motor skills. All of these changes can cause a drastic difference in one behaviors, causing the individual to be consumed by the thoughts and actions of using drugs or alcohol as frequently as possible. This is no a character flaw, but a brain disease. When in recovery, the individuals behavior and personality should return to normal.
You Must Want Treatment for it to be Effective
Not many people want treatment for a drug addiction or alcoholism. The two most common reasons for someone to enter into a treatment facility is because a friend or family member urged them to, or they were court ordered by a judge. Many of those who enter into a treatment program with high pressure from others to do so, successfully complete the program and achieve long term sobriety.
You Should Stay Sober After One Round of Treatment
While there are many people who maintain life long sobriety after one stay in a treatment center, there are others who require multiple visits to find success in sobriety. Drug addiction and alcoholism are chronic disorder, many relapsing and finding themselves starting over in their recovery.
Universal Treatment for All Drug and Alcohol Abuse Problems
No two people are the same, just as no two addictions are the same. With this said it is clear why no two treatment programs should be the same. Many people are in search of a magic fix to help people recover from addiction, this will never happen. Each person needs to be treated at an individual and undergo a treatment program tailored to their personal needs.
You Don’t Need Treatment, You Can Stop at Any Time
It can be extremely difficult for people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol to stop on their own. This is a chronic disorder that causes compulsive and uncontrollable drug and alcohol use. With serious changes in the way the brain functions after long term drug or alcohol use, it can be painful and overwhelming to stop using. Most people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol require a treatment program to overcome their addiction and develop the skills needed to maintain life long sobriety.
You Have To “Hit Rock Bottom” To Seek Treatment
Just like stated before in regards to “You must want treatment for it to be effective”, more people seek treatment because they have been urged by friends and family, or they have been court ordered by a judge. There are many people that are motivated by other sources before they seek treatment for a substance abuse problem before they “hit rock bottom.’
If You’ve Tried One Treatment Program, You’ve Tried Them All
Each treatment facility offers a different program tailored to your individual needs. This means that there are no two same treatment programs. If one program didn’t work for you, another one may be what you need to achieve life long sobriety. You may need to visit several doctors or treatment facilities before you find one that best suits your recovery needs.
If You Keep Using Drugs After Treatment You Are Hopeless
Different psychological stress such as work, family, social interactions or your environment can cause a relapse trigger. Even objects, streets and smells as cause a relapse trigger. Coming across these relapse triggers in the first few months of recovery an easily result in loss of control. There are no hopeless addicts. They just haven’t found the treatment, coping skills and support system that works for them in recovery. There are going to be any dips and bumps on the road to recovery, falling off the road does not make you hopeless it just means you need help to get back on track. Recovery is a life long process that often requires multiple visit to a treatment center and life long maintenance to remain sober.