The most damaging effect of addiction myths, misconceptions, and preconceived notions is that they can be influential in whether or not someone seeks the help they so desperately need. In reality, most myths are derived from negative addiction stigmas, which instills a sense of shame and hopelessness in those suffering from addiction.
In an effort to minimize the effects of the addiction stigma, we’re going to highlight seven of the most common addiction myths. More importantly, we’re going to briefly explain to you why these myths are untrue and potentially quite harmful.
Myth No. 1: Addiction is a Weakness & Character Flaw
One of the most common addiction misconceptions is that stopping substance use is a choice. If you choose not to stop, you’re weak. You have low moral character. You’re selfish. But this is most definitely a myth, one that ignores the science behind addiction.
Addiction affects brain chemistry in a way that makes certain behaviors uncontrollable. Addiction is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Withdrawal symptoms can be deadly and should be closely monitored in a detox center. Many people dealing with addiction are also struggling with mental health disorders.
Addiction is a complex medical illness, not a weakness. Successful recovery requires the guidance of medical and psychological professionals who have been specifically trained to treat addiction.
Myth No. 2: There’s No Problem with Addiction if You’re Still Successful
Most people associate addiction with people who have hit rock bottom. They picture people living in an alley, constantly high. This is one of those myths about addiction that is often used to rationalize drug or alcohol use.
You might still be able to show up to work every day. You might be meeting your family obligations. You might be able to keep up appearances.
The deeper your addiction becomes, however, the more likely the charade of sobriety will catch up to you. Seek help before addiction affects the people you care about and your livelihood.
Myth No. 3: Once You Finish Addiction Treatment, You’re Cured
Addiction is a chronic disease, like obesity and type 2 diabetes. All three can be treated but also require permanent lifestyle changes and a strong commitment to keep them under control.
Leaving a rehab center is not the end of the journey. At this point, you have to work hard to stay sober on your own without constant supervision and support. There will be challenges, urges, and cravings that will need to be overcome.
There is no cure for addiction, but you can stay clean if you commit to ongoing counseling, support group meetings, and following the lessons learned in rehab.
Myth No. 4: Relapse = Failure
An estimated 40-60 percent of people recovering from addiction will relapse at some point, according to research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This may seem high, but addiction relapse rates are actually consistent with relapse rates for other chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
Relapse is a common and often temporary setback, not a failure.
Myth No. 5: The Only Way to Kick an Addiction is to Quit ‘Cold Turkey’
This is one of the more dangerous myths about addiction. Many people going through medical detox can’t stop all at once. Those who try to quit cold turkey without proper medical supervision run the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms and complications.
Beyond the physical dangers, addiction recovery is a lifelong process. You can’t just walk away from drugs or alcohol and expect addiction problems to disappear.
Myth No. 6: If You Seek Treatment, You Will Lose Your Job & Probably Go to Jail
Perceptions of addiction are finally changing. Addiction is now being viewed as a medical illness that requires rehabilitation, not a criminal offense that requires punishment and incarceration.
Many employers offer assistance programs and allow you to use the Family Medical Leave Act or paid time off to seek addiction treatment. You’re probably more likely to lose your job if you choose not to seek treatment and let addiction affect your job performance.
Myth No. 7: Someone Who Doesn’t Accept Help for Addiction is a Lost Cause
Many people only enter rehab at the urging of family, friends, co-workers, or employers, or as required by the legal system. Addiction treatment isn’t destined to fail just because it isn’t completely voluntary.
In many cases, someone struggling with addiction just needs a gentle push, or a hard push, before embracing the need to make changes.
Don’t Let Misconceptions Keep You From Seeking Help
When people enter our detox center in Los Angeles, one of the first things they realize is that their fears about addiction treatment are unfounded. Our co-ed medical detox program provides the medical supervision and emotional support you need to begin your journey toward recovery.
To learn more about our co-ed detox program, contact DetoxLA today.