According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 20 million Americans have used an illegal substance within the last month. This does not include the more than 17 million people who suffer from alcohol dependence or the high number of Americans who have used prescription medications for recreation or non-medical purposes. Still, many misconceptions about substance abuse exist in our sphere. Here are a few myths you should consider:
Misconception: Inpatient treatment for substance abuse is worse than outpatient treatment.
Truth: There are quite a few benefits to inpatient therapy for substance abuse. For starters, these inpatient treatment centers can be thought of as a safe haven detached from access to substances. Those who opt for inpatient treatment find that they have easy access to the programs and medical professionals they need. Patients have the opportunity to interact with fellow recovering addicts, and the result is fewer feelings of isolation. Finally, patients can focus solely on recovery. They do not need to worry about meals, going to work or their schedules. They can spend time thinking about – and working toward – sobriety.
Misconception: Cognitive behavioral therapy does not work with addiction.
Truth: Cognitive behavioral therapy can help recovering addicts. Simply because a specific program does not work well for one person does not mean it can’t work well for another. Finding an effective treatment for each individual is essential.
Misconception: It should take just one time for treatment to work.
Truth: Drug addiction and dependence are incredibly similar to chronic health problems you are probably already aware of. This means that it could take several courses of treatment for substance abuse to deteriorate. For some, this means trying out different types of treatments in search of the best fit.
Misconception: Addicts need to hit “rock bottom” before they can be helped.
Truth: Fortunately, an addict need not hit “rock bottom” before making great strides in treatment. A family member or friend who puts pressure on the individual going through substance abuse may be doing a world of good. Personal recognition that a problem actually exists is also helpful.
Misconception: Only certain types of people become drug addicts.
Truth: Substance abuse and addiction do not discriminate based on race, class, age or anything else. Anybody can become an addict. While addiction does run in families, it does not always have to. Additionally, many associate addiction with class issues. While it is true that certain substances are more common among those living in poverty, prescription medications, cocaine, alcohol and heroin are also commonly associated with the wealthy.
Misconception: Negative consequences of using drugs only occur if you become addicted.
Truth: Unfortunately, you can face negative consequences of drug use even if you have only tried the substance once. In the past, people have died from overdosing or having a heart attack upon the first use.
Misconception: It is okay to use as many prescription medications as you need because they were prescribed by a doctor.
Truth: Unfortunately, prescription addiction is a major problem in the United States. Also unfortunate is the fact that so many Americans are under the impression that prescriptions are not addictive or dangerous simply because doctors have okayed them.
Misconception: Addiction is all about lack of willpower.
Truth: There is much more to addiction than simply “getting better” via willpower. Substance abuse requires treatment, not simply putting down the substance. If it was truly that easy, there would be no more addicts in the world.
Misconception: The best way to provide treatment for a drug addict is to punish them.
Truth: Contrary to popular belief, punishments, such as incarceration, are not suitable as treatments for substance abuse. Punishments do not appeal to the emotional aspects of addiction. Tending to the brain is the only way to ensure that addiction is no longer an issue. Interestingly, reports indicate that it is lest costly to send someone to treatment than to incarcerate them for years.
Misconception: People who abuse substances just don’t want the good times to end.
Truth: It is not true that people with substance abuse problems are having the time of their lives. Addiction is not the same as a carefree day where you can drink a beer or two and unwind. Addiction often requires the need to stay drunk or high just to feel “normal.”
Addiction is something that nobody wants to contend with. Anybody who feels the pain of addiction can benefit from treatment. It begins with overcoming denial and then taking steps to find the right inpatient facility based on the person’s specific needs.