Substance use disorder, more commonly umbrellaed as “addiction,” is one of the biggest public health crises of modern times. In fact, overdoses due to addiction are the top cause of accidental death in the United States, killing hundreds of thousands each year.
The worst part? Only 1 in 10 people who need substance use disorder treatment receive it.
Myths about addiction and recovery can be exceedingly hurtful to those living with substance use disorder. Don’t fall victim to believing what others may say about addiction. Your healing and recovery matter to us and shouldn’t be deterred by shame or negative feelings due to addiction and recovery myths.
At Alpine Recovery Lodge, our primary goal is to help you, or a loved one, get sober and stay sober for life. Whether you’re struggling with addiction and seeking help for the first time or hoping for additional support during a relapse, we are here to help guide you back to the road of recovery.
Let’s explore the five most common myths about addiction and recovery.
1. Addiction is a choice, not a disease.
One of the biggest lies we hear is that addiction is a choice. This rhetoric is harmful to those living with an addiction disorder. The reality of the situation is that no one chooses to become addicted, in the same sense that no one chooses to be diagnosed with a life-alternating disease like cancer.
Although not as straightforward as some other medical diagnoses, an addiction diagnosis may stem from a combination of factors, including:
- Mental health disorders
2. Using willpower is the best way to recover.
Willpower plays a role in long-term recovery sustainability but is not the right first choice to help someone in active addiction recover. There are various changes to the brain when someone becomes addicted to a particular substance that disables their ability to make healthy choices.
Those changes often intercept the natural reward pathway in the brain, causing the brain to signal pleasure when drugs or alcohol are consumed. This shortcut in the rewards process usually involves effort and work before a prize, taking away from a person’s natural self-control and healthy instincts. In turn, this makes them incapable of using willpower to make proper choices or sound judgment.
Because choosing to quit an addiction is not a choice, willpower is not enough to stop this disease.
3. Only certain types of people become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Like genetics and mental health status, various factors can increase a person’s chances of becoming addicted, but that does not rule out anyone from steering clear of this disease altogether.
The bottom line? This prevalent disease does not discriminate. Anyone can become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
4. Relapsing is a sign of failure.
A relapse is most easily defined as a recurrence of previously experienced symptoms. If you’ve experienced one, or are in the middle of one, know this: They are entirely normal and affect nearly 85% of those who have lived with addiction.
A relapse may simply indicate that your current treatment method no longer works for your needs.
Instead of focusing on the negative thoughts and feelings that can come with a relapse, create a plan to reach recovery again, including a comprehensive drug rehabilitation program specializing in relapse help and prevention.
5. People with addiction should hit “rock bottom” before thinking about treatment.
Our advice on when you should be treated for substance use disorder is simple: If you feel like you, or someone you love, is living with addiction, get help now.
Addiction is a dangerous disease that can lead to death if left untreated. Don’t delay treatment until “rock bottom” is reached; there are so many ways we can help those in active addiction today before things become worse or even fatal. Waiting is dangerous; get treatment today.
Call 801-901-8757 and speak confidentially with a recovery expert for the next steps today.