Exploring Addiction Myths

myth vs. fact arrows

Sadly, there are myths and stigma that exist around drug and alcohol abuse. While the stigma is sometimes blatant and other times subtle, these myths about addiction still persist..

This article explores some of these myths about addiction and provides readers with the truth about addiction and recovery.

Drug rehab is full of people and their families that have fallen victim to one or more of the myths associated with addiction. These myths influence some of the stigmas you commonly see tied to people with substance use problems. Let’s debunk some of these commonly held beliefs and start to replace them with scientific facts.

Myth #1 Addiction is a choice, not a disease.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse discusses the science of addiction, saying, “Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to.” While addiction is an extremely complicated disorder, no matter what substance is being used, the current science shows that it is a chronic and debilitating disease.

Illustration of a brain with a drop of liquid falling on it.

THE SCIENCE TELLS US THAT ADDICTION IS A DISEASE, NOT A CHOICE.

The problem is that addiction starts with the bad decision to use drugs or alcohol to excess. But over time, substance use changes the brain in ways that interfere with the person’s ability to resist the drug. These changes can persist over long periods of time, which is why drug rehab facilities see many instances of relapse. These changes in the brain are so long-lasting that substance users can “fall off the wagon” even years after they have been clean and sober.

Myth #2 Using methadone is just replacing one drug with another.

The new gold standard for addiction treatment is to mitigate the effect of withdrawal with medications like methadone or buprenorphine. An article in Vox points out that these drugs can safely be lessened to the point where the substance user can finally be free of his or her addiction. Without medication-assisted treatment (MAT), the dangerous effects of withdrawal can make the chance of relapse almost assured. MAT helps substance users safely and slowly withdraw from the powerful and life-threatening effects of substance use.

Myth #3 Stopping the drug and going through withdrawal stops the addiction.

It is only five to 10 percent of substance users that can stop their addiction by just going through withdrawal. That is because addiction to these substances includes both the physical illness of addiction and the behavioral craving for drugs or alcohol. In the majority of cases, therapeutic counseling must address the root causes of the compulsion as well as the life choices that led the person to start down the path toward addiction.

Drug rehab is designed to address the real causes of addiction. At The Recovery Village Ridgefield, we’ve helped countless people regain their lives and break the addiction cycle. To learn more about admissions, contact us today.

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