Today we are confronted with addiction more than ever. We see it on reality television, in movies and documentaries, we see it on our city streets. A great deal of information is floating around about addiction, but not all of it is accurate. There are a lot of harmful myths that must be debunked, and though our schools teach about drug and alcohol use, many people aren’t equipped with the information they need to seek drug or alcohol dependency treatment. Below are the top five invalid reasons people are not seeking help.
Five Myths About Addiction
- With enough will power, addicts can quit without treatment. You hear it all the time: “I can quit whenever I want”, “I don’t need to go to rehab.” However, research has shown that long-term substance abuse actually alters your brain chemistry. At this point it is no longer an issue of behavior or impulse control, but rather a tangible problem in the human body that will not go away on its own.
- In order for rehabilitation to work, an addict must hit “rock bottom.” For some, the realization that treatment is necessary comes after a major negative event such as getting a DUI or losing custody of their children. But this doesn’t have to be the case. A person can be helped before their addiction causes irreversible damage.
- You can’t force someone into treatment. The idea that a person must want to quit in order to be successful is false. Because they aren’t thinking clearly, addicts simply don’t recognize the gravity of their situation. Many individuals need a push from friends, family, or the legal system.
- Treatment programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) force religion onto you. The 12 Step Program does have roots in a Christian organization. However, not all members are Christian or even religious at all. In order to fully benefit from AA, you should be able to keep an open mind and respect that people have different beliefs, but you do not have to believe in God to conquer your addiction. If you are uncomfortable with the mention of God or religion, there are other alcohol addiction treatment options that may better suit you.
- Addicts are all the same. They fit a stereotype. Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are most likely to experience substance use disorders. However, this issue is not contained to that demographic alone. Addiction does not exclusively affect the weak, the uneducated, or the immoral. Men and women of all ages, races, and walks of life may experience addiction during their lifetime. Studies show that individuals with substance abuse problems are up to three times more likely to suffer from mental illness, and in Canada, for example, one in five people experiences a mental health or addiction problem. This statistic covers a large portion of the country, many of whom are upstanding citizens with jobs and families.
There are a variety of treatment options when it comes to substance abuse. Inpatient rehab centres provide residential treatment to those with more severe and immediate needs, while organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous provide a safe space for individuals in recovery to share their stories. Drug and alcohol dependency treatment can be daunting for addicts and their friends and families. Another myth says that if treatment doesn’t work the first time, it will never work. Some people, however, just need extra time and care for drug and alcohol dependency treatment to be a success.