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Common Addiction Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction

Common addiction myths

Drug and alcohol addiction is one of the most chronically misunderstood healthcare-related problems facing our country today. Before we begin exploring the myths about addiction, let’s start with a few addiction facts recently published in a report from the surgeon general:

FACT: More people use prescription opioids than use tobacco.

FACT: There are more people with substance abuse disorders than people with cancer.

FACT: One in five Americans binge drink.

FACT: Substance abuse disorders cost the U.S. more than $420 billion a year.

As surprising as these addiction facts might seem, they aren’t even the most shocking thing about substance abuse disorders in America. Perhaps more shocking than these figures is the sad truth that, even today, addiction simply does not get the attention it deserves as a national health crisis affecting people from all walks of life .

One reason for this is no doubt related to the stubborn persistence of addiction myths like the ones you’re about to explore. Let’s get started.

Addiction Myth 1: Drug or Alcohol Addiction is a Character Flaw

Alcohol and drugs like cocaine, heroin or any other substance of abuse affect brain function. When people become addicted, the brain physically changes on a molecular or cellular level, and continuing to use drugs is no longer a choice. Addiction has nothing to do with a lack of willpower or discipline. It’s all about brain chemistry. Plain and simple.

Addiction Myth 2: Addicts Must Hit “Rock Bottom” Before Recovery

Abusing drugs and alcohol often causes negative consequences in life. There’s no debate about that. However, there is little evidence to suggest that success in addiction recovery is in any way dependent upon the occurrence of a stereotypical “rock bottom” moment. In fact, it’s often better for addicts to seek help early on, before things spiral completely out of control.

Addiction Myth 3: Recovery is a One-Time Event

Drug addiction, like countless other illnesses, can sometimes be thought of as a chronic disease. And, as a chronic disease, recovery isn’t necessarily something that happens once. Rather, addiction recovery is often a lifelong process that may call for repeated treatments.

Addiction Myth 4: Relapse is Unavoidable

While it’s true that many recovering addicts will experience a relapse, it is not inevitable. Relapse is also not a sign that treatment has failed. With an effective relapse prevention plan and an understanding of common relapse triggers, recovering addicts can minimize their chances of falling back into the destructive behaviors that may have contributed to their addiction in the first place.

Addiction Myth 5: Addicts Can’t be Functional People

Some addicts are able to hold down jobs, pay their bills on time and do many of the things that productive, healthy people do. In fact, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 76% of people who have a substance abuse problem are employed. So, why don’t more of these people get help for their addictions? One possible explanation could be because they don’t know how to tell their employers that they need help. Or, understandably, they’re afraid of losing their jobs.

Addiction Myth 6: Addicts Must Want to Enter Rehab

People usually decide to enter drug rehab for two reasons: Either because their loved ones convinced them to get help or because of a court-ordered mandate. People rarely enroll in an addiction treatment program because they want to. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, many scientific studies show that when people are under high pressure to confront their addictions, they experience comparatively better outcomes.

Find Hope at The Raleigh House

Our comprehensive rehab center helps can help you our your loved one overcome addiction. Each client receives an individualized treatment plan that includes a board-certified psychiatric evaluation, a comprehensive nursing assessment and an on-going nutritional support plan. Get started today.


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