In this article, we will debunk 7 myths about addiction recovery to help clear up confusion and provide a better understanding of the recovery process. Once you understand that these myths are nothing more than simple myths, the road to recovery or your understanding of someone else’s condition will only get better.
Myth 1: Addiction is a choice.
One of the most common myths about addiction is that it is a choice. People often believe that individuals with addiction choose to use drugs or alcohol and could stop if they wanted to.
But addiction is a complicated disease that is caused by a mix of genetics, social factors, and environmental factors.
Research has shown that addiction is a chronic brain disease that changes brain functions, making it difficult for individuals to stop using drugs or alcohol independently. For example, an American Medical Association study found that long-term drinking (alcoholism) can cause the hippocampus to shrink.
This is a part of the brain involved in memory and spatial navigation. Other studies have also shown that addiction is linked to brain reward system changes.
Furthermore, addiction may also change the way the brain processes stress. This can make it difficult for individuals to quit using drugs or alcohol even when they want to.
Myth 2: You can’t recover unless you hit rock bottom.
Another myth about addiction is that individuals must hit rock bottom before they can begin to recover. This idea can be dangerous because it suggests that individuals must experience severe negative consequences before they are ready to seek help.
The truth is that recovery is possible at any stage of addiction. Additionally, the earlier an individual seeks help, the better their chances of recovery will be. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the majority of individuals who need treatment for addiction do not receive it.
However, early intervention and access to treatment can significantly improve outcomes for individuals struggling with addiction. Furthermore, it can reduce the risk of negative consequences such as job loss, legal problems, and overdose.
Myth 3: Inpatient rehab is the only effective form of treatment.
Many people believe that inpatient rehab is the only effective form of treatment for addiction. While inpatient programs are highly effective because they give an individual the highest levels of care, they are not the only option.
Inpatient rehab programs are often expensive and may not be practical for some individuals. Outpatient treatment, individual counseling, support groups, and medication-assisted treatment are also effective forms of treatment for addiction.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), research has shown that a combination of behavioral therapy and medication can be effective in treating addiction.
Furthermore, other studies have shown that different forms of treatment may be more appropriate for different individuals depending on their needs and circumstances. For example, some individuals may benefit more from inpatient rehab, while others may do better with outpatient treatment.
Myth 4: A mental health disorder is a barrier to recovery.
A prevalent myth is that those with a co-occurring mental health disorder cannot overcome addiction. This is not the case. Individuals who experience both mental health and addiction disorders can and do recover. Of course, with the proper prevention.
For example, dual-diagnosis treatment programs address both the addiction and the underlying mental health disorder, leading to more effective outcomes. Research has proven that treating both disorders simultaneously improves the chances of success.
In fact, those who receive integrated treatment for both disorders have better outcomes than those who receive treatment for one disorder only.
Myth 5: Addiction recovery is a one-time event.
Recovery from addiction is often perceived as a singular event but is actually a lifelong process. Addiction is a chronic disease that requires ongoing management, similar to diabetes or hypertension. Recovery is an ongoing journey that involves developing new coping mechanisms, learning to manage triggers, and building a support system.
According to the NIDA, relapse rates for addiction are similar to those for other chronic diseases. It’s important to know that recovery is not a one-time thing, but a process that goes on and on and needs help and attention all the time.
When a person is addicted, their decision making abilities are often impaired, and they are discouraged from seeking help or from stopping using drugs or alcohol on their own.
This one may be the most prevalent among the different myths about addiction recovery.
Myth 6: You can’t recover if you’ve relapsed.
Relapse is a common part of the recovery process and should be regarded as such. After all, many people experience a relapse at some point during their recovery. However, this doesn’t mean they failed. It is simply an opportunity to learn from the experience and make changes to the treatment plan.
A study in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that people who relapse during treatment are more likely to stay clean in the long term if they keep going to treatment. And those individuals who have relapsed can benefit from interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.
This type of therapy is also highly recommended by experts in addiction treatment, such as Bright Futures Treatment Center, since it can help individuals identify and change the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that led to the relapse.
Myth 7: Medications for addiction are just substituting one addiction for another.
Medications such as methadone and buprenorphine are often used to help individuals with opioid addiction. These medications have the potential to be extremely effective in reducing cravings and preventing overdose. However, there is a myth that they are just substituting one addiction for another. This is not true.
Medicines for addiction are used with counseling and support to help individuals achieve and maintain recovery. A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that MAT was associated with a significant reduction in opioid use and a decreased risk of overdose and death.
And since this myth can incline people not to take the medication they need to recover, it is considered one of the most dangerous myths about addiction recovery.
It’s important to note that addiction recovery is a personal journey, and everyone’s experience will differ. By understanding the facts about addiction and recovery and debunking these common myths about addiction recovery, we can better support individuals in their journey to recovery.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, it’s essential to seek help as soon as possible. Inpatient programs, outpatient treatment, individual counseling, support groups, and medication-assisted treatment are all effective forms of treatment that can help individuals on the road to recovery.
Remember that recovery is a lifelong process and that relapses are a normal part of the journey. It’s also essential to have a strong support system, whether it’s family, friends, or professionals. Anyone can achieve a successful recovery with the right help, support, and resources.
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This post was last modified on January 21, 2023 12:22 am