Debunking Myths About Drug Addiction

If you or a loved one is suffering from substance use disorder (SUD) or addiction, it's understandable that you're looking for help on the internet. However, finding reliable and helpful information can be difficult due to significant misinformation, misunderstanding, and myths surrounding addiction and recovery due to rehab industry advertising, stigma, or the opinions of others who have not worked at recovering from addictive substances. This article will cover some common misconceptions about addiction and offer advice on coping.

Addiction may be overcome with just the use of one's willpower.

A single component can't predict a person's likelihood of becoming addicted to drugs. Peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, early drug exposure, stress, and parental supervision may significantly impact a person's propensity to use drugs. 


There is a compulsion to take the substance due to the brain transmitting signals of intense and acute cravings. Because of these alterations in the brain, quitting may be exceedingly tricky, necessitating an intervention program like inpatient or outpatient rehab.


Addiction is typically seen as a lack of willpower, although an overpowering will also characterize substance use disorder. One must devise methods for preserving willpower through environmental manipulation to achieve recovery. The self-reports support one such study's findings from those who have recovered, who say strategies are more crucial than willpower in facilitating recovery. It is better to employ will strategically. Although addiction is an illness, it is also something that may be consciously chosen.


A drug is a drug, so addiction is lifelong.

Substance abuse disorders vary. Others respond quickly to therapy, while others battle the addiction for years. Long-term recovery allows people to live healthy, meaningful lives.


Some believe addictions can last a lifetime, or most of it. If you're one of these people, you might think that people who have been sober for a while are still at risk of relapsing. Relapse is always a possibility but not a threat. Addiction doesn't mean seeking a replacement addiction after recovery. 


Defending the myth of a lifetime addiction means believing in a usual ultimate route in the brain's reward system, which implies that the body may try to find a second avenue to satisfy starved neurotransmitters if the first one is blocked. Cross-addiction describes this. According to a recent study, people who successfully recover have less than half the risk of developing a second SUD.


Fortunately, due to the brain's neuroplasticity, people in recovery can do mindfulness meditation, exercise, read a book, make music, and call or video chat with a friend rather than turn to drugs and alcohol. Substituting healthy behaviors for drinking or doing drugs can be more rewarding than ever. As neurochemistry and functional MRIs have advanced, the conceptions of substance abuse and sobriety made sense in 1935 when Alcoholics Anonymous was formed may no longer be relevant.


A person battling addiction must be at their lowest, having lost or about to lose everything, before seeking help.  

The healing process can start at any moment. The sooner a person receives treatment for alcohol or a substance use disorder, the better off they will be in the long run. A person's addiction gets harder to treat the longer it goes on. Don't wait until things are at their worst before seeking support. You can start your recovery where you are. People receive treatment at different stages of change.


No “one size fits all” treatment exists, and what works for one person may not be suitable for another. An addiction treatment program should be where you feel accepted and are given the tools and support you need to continue your recovery.


The transtheoretical model of stages of change proposes that when a person changes problematic behaviors with alcohol and other substances, it is not the result of a linear process with a clearly defined beginning and finish. Due to the different phases of the along recovery spectrum, individuals may start treatments at any stage, with some regressions and progressions for others. 


You’re cured after detox.

During a detox, your primary goal is to eliminate all harmful chemicals from drugs or alcohol and restore your body to a healthy state.  This procedure may cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Detoxing at a rehab facility or in an outpatient environment allows physicians to keep tabs on your symptoms and intervene if required, so it's always recommended.


But there's more to addiction recovery than that. Detoxification and abstinence are merely the beginning of this path for many individuals. To sustain sobriety, the next challenge and goal of rehab and various types of ongoing therapy and support is to learn and master new ways of thinking, so you can master a new way to be. 


It's not enough to simply stop using drugs or alcohol. You also have to find new ways to cope with the stress, be it from post-trauma or new sources of stress or triggers. This process takes time and practice, but once you've cleansed your body and mind of substances, you'll be stronger and more focused on finding the right tools and support to improve daily functioning and sustain long-term recovery.


Post-traumatic growth (PTG) in addiction recovery is also being studied. PTG occurs when a person's functioning improves after acute stress. In the progression of addiction, pleasure gives way to relief as substance use becomes a repetitive act that treats physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. This repetition makes addiction seem traumatic forever. Post-traumatic growth theory has been validated in studies of substance and alcohol abuse. For many people, detox interrupts the trauma of substance abuse and spurs personal growth and rehabilitation.


There is no remedy for addiction; severe substance use disorder is a sickness, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Despite the consensus among experts that addiction is a brain disease, individuals with alcohol or substance use disorders are not powerless. Counseling, medications, exercise, and other modalities can treat and reverse brain changes caused by alcohol and substance abuse. Change comes from within and requires following a treatment plan.


Recovery is possible. Millions of people are living healthy, productive, and meaningful lives after learning how to incorporate the values and beliefs on recovery, which SAMHSA and the National Institute on Drug Abuse describe as “a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live in a self-directed manner, and work toward achieving their full potential.” This great aptitude is possible when recovering:


  • Emerges from hope.

  • Is person driven.
  • Occurs via many pathways. 
  • Is holistic.
  • Is supported by peers and allies.
  • Is supported through relationships and social networks. 
  • Is culturally based and influenced. 
  • Is supported by addressing trauma. 
  • Involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility. 
  • Is based on respect.


Internet, culture, and stigma spread many other myths and misconceptions. If you're worried about your drinking or drug use, contact Wish Recovery, one of the best luxury dual diagnosis treatment centers, for more information and guidance.

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