There is a lot of misinformation in circulation about addiction and recovery. Much of it is damaging enough that it may discourage people from asking for help. The end result is that people with a substance abuse problem simply don’t receive the treatment they need. So here are a few myths about addicts, addiction, and recovery that need to be “busted”.
Myths and Facts About Addiction and Recovery
Myth #1: Drug addiction is a choice
- Fact: Most medical experts believe that substance abuse is a chronic disease that can happen to anyone. Using it for the first time may have been a choice, but once dependence starts there is little choice left. No one wants to be an addict, they can only choose to end their addiction. However, recovery takes more than a single decision – it takes commitment and hard work.
Myth #2: Individuals with an addiction need to hit rock bottom before seeking rehab
- Fact: In some cases this is true, but if the person is surrounded by a strong and caring support network they can be encouraged to seek help long before they reach the bottom. Recognizing addiction early is crucial.
Myth #3: People with substance use disorders are bad people
- Fact: Addiction is caused by a chemical dependence in the brain. It is not a moral weakness or character flaw. It may cause someone to do bad things in order to feed their addiction. However, they are not an addict because they are a bad person – they simply made some poor decisions along the way.
Myth #4: If I need rehab, I am weak
- Fact: The physical dependence and psychological impact of addiction can overwhelm even the strongest individual. Asking for help is a sign of strength and maturity. You are taking responsibility for your actions and taking back control.
Myth #5: I can’t leave my life for treatment
- Fact: Rehab is more of a pause, and you’ll only be putting life on hold for a relatively short while. Stepping away allows you to focus fully on recovery, to understand and change the behaviors that led to addiction, and to develop coping strategies to deal with temptation and cravings.
Myth #6: Going to rehab is the only way to treat addiction
- Fact: Inpatient rehab centers are not the only treatment option for addiction. There are many options available, most of which do not involve inpatient care – although it may be necessary in some cases.
Myth #7: I only need to detox
- Fact: “Detox” fully removes the addictive substance from your system. However, this is only the first step in recovery. Detox breaks the chemical dependence, but does not address the underlying mental or emotional issues that caused the addiction. Without a full understanding, patients are more likely to relapse. A full recovery program will help you heal physically and emotionally.
Myth #8: I don’t need treatment for withdrawal symptoms. I can quit cold turkey
- Fact: When you suddenly stop using drugs or alcohol you will experience strong, and possibly dangerous, withdrawal symptoms. These include anxiety, nausea, vomiting, mood swings, muscle pain, insomnia, or seizures. Many are uncomfortable enough that a person will relapse to ease them. More severe symptoms, such as seizures, can result in serious injury or death. Tapering off slowly under medical supervision is the safest and most comfortable way to quit. Rehab programs ease the discomfort and protect you from unforeseen medical issues.
Myth #9: Relapse means treatment has failed
- Fact: Many people in recovery relapse and return to alcohol or drug use during or after treatment. It is normal and even expected during the process. Relapse merely indicates that treatment needs to be adjusted. Addiction is a disease, and like other medical conditions, it may need to be treated several times before success is achieved. Recovery is a multi-step process, and sometimes people slip along the way. Relapse is just another step along the road to full recovery.
Myth #10: Medication-assisted treatment trades one addiction for another
- Fact: Some addictions are treated with medication. These medications have few side effects and reduce both withdrawal symptoms and the risk of overdose. They ease cravings and help rebalance brain chemicals, making the rehab process safer and more comfortable – and more likely to be successful.
Myth #11: Addiction treatment is too expensive
- Fact: Some programs are expensive, but there are many less costly options available. Medical insurance and government programs can cover the costs, and many community or 12-step support groups (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous) are free.
Myth #12: Once rehab ends, I’m on my own
- Fact: Every recovery program offers many options for aftercare support – group meetings, outpatient counseling services, sober living programs, and alumni events to remind you that you are not alone. They help you deal with temptations to relapse and give you tools to help keep you on the path.
Why Choose Rising Phoenix?
Choosing to enter an addiction recovery program is brave and courageous. Addiction recovery addresses physical, mental, and emotional needs, and that requires effort and commitment.
Rising Phoenix Wellness Services is a licensed mental health and substance use disorder Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) in Scottsdale, Arizona. We created our addiction and mental health treatment program to offer a safe, welcoming and nurturing environment where clients are embraced, not judged, throughout their recovery process.
We offer programming that is based on Integrity, Innovation, Confident Humility, and Mindful Leadership. Our Mission is to help people recognize the unique value of their life and improve their overall health and wellness.