By Sandy Baker
Drug addiction isn’t something that only happens to other people.
It can happen to you, your family, the friend you grew up with, or even your child. When it occurs, your goal should be to recognize the problem and help your loved one find the best possible addiction treatment.
Unfortunately, it rarely works this way. Many people believe addiction to alcohol and drugs is not common, not something they need to worry about, and not something their loved one could suffer from. It is believing these myths that make it so hard for people to get help early on.
Take a moment to consider these top addiction myths. Could these be limiting your ability to reach out to those in need?
Myth #1: People Who Have an Addiction Can Just Stop
The American Psychiatry Association calls addiction a brain disease due to changes in the brain’s wiring. This causes intense demand from the body to use the drug again. In short, addiction is not a choice. People cannot just get stronger or have more willpower to stop using. It becomes just as important to them as eating and drinking are.
Myth #2: Going Cold Turkey Is the Only Type of Drug Addiction Treatment That Works
Going along with #1, many people believe that the only way to stop using drugs and alcohol is to simply never touch them again. The fact is, drug and alcohol addiction treatment revolve around detoxing the body from the physical demand. Then, individuals must work through the actual underlying cause of their addiction. This includes long-term treatment using one-on-one therapy as well as group and family therapy sessions. More so, every person’s path towards recovery is different. Going cold turkey is not safe to do in some situations.
Myth #3: Drugs Are Safe Because They Are Natural
There are some drugs people consider natural because they are grown. Examples include marijuana and mushrooms. They are natural, but not harmless. Marijuana has become legalized in some areas, but alcohol and tobacco already are as well. And, most people recognize that these drugs of choice are not good for you either. In other words, just because something is natural does not mean it is safe to use and will not create an addiction or dependency.
Myth #4: Narcan Will Save You
Narcan, or naloxone, is a type of drug capable of reversing the impact of prescription pain medication overdoses. More specifically, if a person is overdosing from using opioids, naloxone may be helpful in stopping the impact of the overdose and saving a person’s life. Naloxone works many times, but it is not foolproof. And, it is not always available. Synthetic products are being sold that cannot offer the same life-saving benefits. Don’t assume it will save you.
Myth #5: Prescription Drugs Are Safe
This is yet another worrisome myth people believe. Prescription drugs are highly controlled. Taking too much of them or using them for the wrong reason can be life-threatening. More so, just because a doctor prescribes them doesn’t mean they are safe to use by those who are not prescribed the medication or at a dose that is higher than prescribed.
Myth #6: If You Can Handle Your Liquor, It’s Not a Problem
Individuals addicted to alcohol very commonly believe they don’t have a problem. They can carry on conversations, work full-time jobs, and manage their home lives just fine. However, if you wake up thinking about alcohol and go to bed the same way, you have a problem. Your tolerance level is high, but that doesn’t mean your body’s organs are tolerating the alcohol. The physical damage is still happening.
Myth #7: Detox Is All You Need
Some people believe that they just need to detox and then they will be okay. While detoxification is very important, there’s more to it than this. You need to understand why you have an addiction, how this happened, and how it can happen again. Group and individual therapy are nearly always necessary for individuals struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.
Myth #8: Addiction Is a Moral Failure
Some family members may view addiction as a moral failure. They do not see how it is possible for a good person to face these challenging circumstances. Unfortunately, anyone can experience a drug or alcohol addiction. People abusing drugs or alcohol don’t lack morals. They simply need help overcoming the physical and mental complexities caused by using.
Myth #9: You Need Religion to Get Sober
That’s not the case at all, although leaning on existing faith can certainly be helpful as part of the recovery process. You or your loved one need to decide to get sober, find the right treatment, and work hard at achieving set sobriety goals. You can get sober if you aren’t religious. And, a person using drugs and alcohol does not always lack religious beliefs, either. The two areas are not linked.
Myth #10: Once You’re an Addict, You Never Recover
This is a very sad realization for many people. They believe that once they have an addiction, they will never get over it.
It’s true that you will always have an addiction. However, you can learn to live with it and control cravings to prevent relapse. You don’t have to face consequences from it long term.
Reach out to our team to find the help you need. Don’t believe the myths. Solutions are available for anyone.