In today’s world of mass communication and access to information by credible sources, it is puzzling to realize that our society and culture hold tight to myths and stereotypes around alcohol and drug abuse and addiction. Below are ten most common myths of substance abuse, debunked.
1. All addicts are criminals.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that 50 percent of all inmates are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and up to 80 percent abused substances. However, outside of jails, 75-90 percent of those with substance abuse problems are functioning, holding jobs, and raising families.
2. You cannot be addicted to a prescribed medication.
Oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl, liberally prescribed and regarded as safe for years, are now regarded as addictive. People who have never taken more than their doctor prescribed find themselves in rehab, physically dependent upon them, unable to get off without medical and clinical support.
3. Only hard drugs are dangerous.
Heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine have longstanding reputations for being dangerous, but they are not the only dangerous substances. Contrary to its casual acceptance, alcohol is the most widely used and abused mood-altering substance. Alcohol is responsible for more than 88,000 deaths in America each year, more than 10,000 from driving accidents alone.
4. Rehab doesn’t work.
Residential rehabilitation and other levels of addiction treatment are highly effective for many in early recovery. Residential facilities provide a clinically and medically supported treatment in a safe, structured environment.
5. Relapse means failure.
Though well-intended, this hard definition of recovery delivers unfortunate, and sometimes destructive, messages to a person in early recovery. Responses such as guilt, shame, indifference, and hopelessness, as well fear of rejection, contribute to continued relapses. Seen differently, a relapse can be a valuable learning experience that empowers the person in recovery to keep trying.
6. Rehab is for the rich and famous.
Some residential rehabilitation centers can be expensive, but there are treatment programs available for people of every income level. Many are contracted providers with major health insurance companies. Those with health insurance may only be responsible for their regular deductible and coinsurance. There are also programs contracted with Medicaid in major cities across the country.
7. Detox is enough.
Detoxifying from an addictive substance is the very difficult beginning of the recovery process, but it is just the beginning. Following detox comes many physical, emotional, and social triggers to return to substance use.
8. Medication-assisted detox is just trading addictions.
Pharmacotherapy is an appropriate choice for some people. In some detoxification instances where certain or several substances have been abused concurrently and/or the health of the client is compromised, the use of medications during detoxification can be life-saving.
In order to get sober, you must believe in a higher power.
Though there are some who adhere firmly to this belief and it is helpful to them, sobriety does not necessitate powerlessness as a requirement for wellness. Many individuals and recovery groups view self-empowerment, choice, and personal goals and inspirations as equally powerful motivators for recovery.
If you or a loved one are in need of treatment for substance abuse, please give us a call – we can help.