Myths about drug rehab and addiction

There are many myths that revolve around the nature of drug addiction and how treatment works. Many of these myths can be damaging, and even detrimental to the progress of addicts seeking or going through treatment. Others give a false sense of security to the believer and can be discouraging if not acknowledged before addiction treatment.

You’ll find several of the biggest myths here below. Once you learn the truth about addiction and rehab, you can be better armed to fight against substance abuse.

Myth: Addiction is a choice and a matter of willpower

While there is an element of truth to this myth, it is mostly untrue. The first usage of a drug or substance is almost always a choice, and addicts typically begin as an occasional user. That is a voluntary decision. However, as time goes on, something happens in which the drug affects the brain, and the user progresses from being an occasional drug user to becoming a habitual user and an addict. The continued use of drugs changes the chemistry of your brain in many dramatic ways, while also in subtle ways, but they are ways which inevitably lead to a compulsive and uncontrollable use of drugs.

Myth: Addiction is a sign of flawed character

Having a drug addiction does not mean that you are a bad person. Drug addiction is a brain disease, not a flaw or sign of bad character. For every type of substance abuse, each one has its own unique mechanism that alters the functions of your brain — the toxins can change your mood, they can modify the way your brain processes memory, it can affect your motor skills, your ability to walk and talk, and will even change the very molecule and cells inside your brain.

Eventually, as the chemistry of the brain itself is broken down and rebuilt by the drug, the toxins of the drug become an intricate part of the brain itself. The brain becomes reliant on chemicals within the drug in order to function. This is how the drug becomes the single greatest motivator of the addict’s life. The drug ultimately attacks the brain at its deepest levels, changing the very way that if functions.

Myth: You must want to have drug treatment before it can be effective

Hardly anyone actually desires to go through addiction treatment. In most cases, when a person is seeking treatment for their addiction, it is not by their own choice. Usually a court has ordered them to receive help, or their family and friends are pressuring them to find treatment.

This is actually a good thing for those who are seeking treatment, because many scientific studies show us that it isn’t those who voluntarily enter into treatment who are the most successful, but those who faced “high pressure” from their community to find help, who are the most successful in addiction rehabilitation programs. Patients more often than not need to be confronted and need to make rigorous attempts to surmount their addiction in order to receive the best treatment — you need to push through resistance in order to reach the other side.


Myth: Treatment is a once and final solution

Most often drug addiction is a chronic disorder. There are some people who are able to cure their addiction with a “cold turkey” method, or they quit their addiction and after leaving the facility go through the rest of their lives without ever having a relapse or struggle in their drug abuse again.

But for most addicts, those who abuse drugs will require long-term treatment both inside and outside the facility. It is not uncommon for people to undergo multiple treatments as a result of relapses. Treatment is not a guaranteed “final solution” to your addiction struggle — busting this myth about addiction treatment should give struggling addicts more peace of mind and decrease their frustration.

Myth: There should be a single solution to treat all kinds of drug addiction

Many people dream of a simple, easy cure for drug addiction — a pill, or perhaps a single method of therapy that will give 100% guaranteed success with every application. But no such treatment exists, or probably ever has any hope of existing in the foreseeable future.

There is no “one-size fits all” or “magic pill” cure to drug addiction, and you shouldn’t bet that there ever will be one. Different people have different problems related to their drug abuse, and different patients have many varying needs. So addicts in a treatment facility require a wide range of unique methods and approaches that are suited to their individual needs.

Myth: Relapse is never going to happen

Addiction is a chronic disease, and even with treatment it is often very difficult to overcome. Many patients are not admitted only once into a treatment center, but multiple times, relapse is not always inevitable.

Many addicts will see the statistics regarding drug and alcohol addiction treatments, and lose hope in addiction rehab like a lost cause. After all, according to Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of New York, every year approximately 2.6 million people in the United States receive treatment for drug and substance abuse. The figures can make it seem at times as rather hopeless.

Though it is true that many addicts end up relapsing on the path to sobriety, this does not make relapse a fate etched in stone. There are still many addicts who do go through treatment and never end up needing it again for the long-term. So long as there is a chance, you can always be one of those success stories.

If you do relapse after addiction treatment, it should not be seen as a failure. As a matter of fact, a relapse should be a way in which one re-dedicates their commitment to sobriety. As long as you can pick yourself back up, put in continued effort, and achieve an even longer period of a drug-free lifestyle than before, relapse is just another part of the journey.