Substance abuse is an ever-growing problem not just in the United States, but throughout the world in general. With new drugs hitting the streets every day and all manners of alcohol available right down the street at the corner store, addiction can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time. Everyone has their own idea of what addiction is, what it looks like, who falls victim to it, and everything else that’s involved. There’s nothing morally wrong about having a preconception, everyone does, but more often than not, without facts to draw from, these ideas are pulled from common myths about addiction and substance abuse.
Probably the most common misconception about addiction is that it only affects those of poor moral character, criminals, and people with no self-control. It’s easy to paint addicts and alcoholics as the dregs of society, but the truth isn’t so cut and dry. More and more, doctors are finding that patients who come in with substance abuse problems are average people from every walk of life. Soccer moms and school teachers, CEOs and lawyers, any of whom could have had surgery or broken a leg and were prescribed painkillers suddenly find themselves with a serious problem. Many modern, powerful painkillers are opiate-based and highly addictive and altering the dosage can result in forming dependencies. The truth is that anyone can find themselves with an addiction problem, regardless of their origins, lifestyle, or character.
Do You Choose to Be An Addict?
Second is the belief that addiction is a voluntary choice of lifestyle, or that an addict or alcoholic could quit if they really wanted to or had any discipline. If somebody begins using drugs for recreational purposes, yes, that is a choice. As the substance abuse continues, however, the substance rewires the brain. Different substances have different specifics, but all of them alter brain chemistry in such a way that causes the person to seek out continued use. The brain is literally fooled into thinking it needs the substance to survive and affects behavior accordingly. It is because of this that addicts and/or alcoholics have an extremely difficult, if not virtually impossible time quitting through sheer will alone. Help is needed.
Waiting For Rock Bottom?
Another common myth is that a person has to hit a “rock bottom” before they seek out treatment or before treatment would be effective. This could not be further from the truth. Even though some addicts or alcoholics don’t recognize that they have a problem, some do and that realization spurs many to seek treatment. Pressure from family, friends, school, employers, or even a courthouse can also be a powerful motivating factor in treatment. In fact, this falls in line with another myth that you can’t force someone into treatment, or that somebody has to want treatment in order for it to work. Often times, people are coerced into treatment facilities by the legal system, sometimes as part of a plea bargain, but sometimes these people do better, mostly because they are more likely to remain and complete the program.
Tailor Made Treatment Programs are the Best Programs
It’s also a common belief that treatment programs are all the same, or that what facility you go to doesn’t matter just as long as you go. In truth, there is no “one size fits all” program for addiction. Every person is different and as such, addiction affects them differently, their reasons behind the addiction differ, as well as the substance in question. For this reason, finding a rehab facility that suits an individuals needs is absolutely critical if the patient is to have any hope of recovery. If you’ve tried going into treatment before and it didn’t work for you, don’t give up on treatment altogether! Obviously, the program there didn’t work for you, so you need to find another that will.
Addiction doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t pick and choose, and when it takes hold, it doesn’t let go without a fight.Teenagers, elders, mothers, fathers, teachers, coaches, role models; anyone can fall prey to substance abuse, even without realizing it. Understanding addiction is the first step to combating it. Knowledge is power, so only by arming ourselves accordingly can we fight back, not only for ourselves but for our friends and loved ones.