Five Myths about Substance Abuse and Addiction
“Overcoming addiction is a simple matter of willpower”:
Prolonged exposure to drugs/substances alters the brain in ways that result in powerful cravings and a compulsion to use. These brain changes make it extremely difficult to quit by sheer force of will. This is one of the hardest myths to overcome.
“Addiction is a disease; there is nothing you can do about it”:
Myth number two. Most experts agree that addiction is a brain disease, but that does not mean you are helpless to it. The brain changes associated with addiction can be treated and reversed through therapy, medication, exercise and other treatments.
“Addicts have to hit rock bottom before they can get better”:
Myth number three. Recovery can begin at any point in the addiction process – and the earlier, the better. The longer drug abuse continues, the stronger the addiction becomes and the harder it is to treat. Do not wait to intervene until the addict has lost it all.
“You can’t force someone into treatment; they have to want help”:
Myth number four. Treatment does not have to be voluntary to be successful. People who are pressured into treatment by their family, employer, friends or the legal system are just as likely to benefit as those who choose to enter treatment on their own. As they sober up and their drinking clears, many former resistant addicts decide they want to change.
“Treatment did not work before, so there is no point trying again”:
Myth number five. Recovery from drug/alcohol or any addiction is a long process that often involves setbacks. Relapse does not mean that treatment has failed or that you are a lost cause. Rather, it is a signal to get back on track – either by going back to treatment or adjusting the treatment approach.