With the opioid epidemic, more Americans are discovering the realities of drug addiction. However, as with any health topic, there are some common myths and misconceptions that you might have come across. If you or anyone you know might be suffering from addiction, you definitely want to know the facts.
Addiction is not a sign that the user is a failure.
Sometimes, people get caught up in drugs for complicated reasons, but you should never assume that they are a failure or even a morally bankrupt person. While the first time you use a drug is usually a choice, there are still many factors that are out of your control. Genetics, your environment, and your mental health can all affect how likely to are to end up with an addiction. You can also be tricked into using addictive drugs by a doctor. The opioid epidemic, for example, is largely caused by doctor who purposely prescribe strong painkillers, while knowing that patients will get addicted and come back to pay for more.
The opioid epidemic has other causes as well, but it is just one example of how addiction can be something that is completely out of your hands. Even if it is in your hands, peer pressure is a real problem in certain communities, so you should never assume that addiction is so easy to avoid. Once you are addicted, is not easy to simply stop using drugs. Addiction changes your brain chemistry and becomes near impossible to control your compulsive behaviors. You become addicted and certain behaviors become as natural and as inevitable as eating food or going to sleep.
Relapse are expected.
When someone tries to go in for treatment, they are not going to suddenly walk out of program with a hard and fast solution to their addiction. For serious addictions, it can take time before you feel as though you can finally control yourself. Even if you stay clean for a while, you should not get too frustrated if you experience a relapse. In fact, relapses are expected and most healthcare providers use it as a way of figuring out if they need to make certain modifications in your treatment plan.
Addiction is not easy to treat and it will take patience before an addict can say they are official clean. Therefore, do not feel ashamed, guilty, hopeless, or anxious every time you have a relapse. Simply admit that you are experiencing problems and reach out for help. Relapse is not a sign of failure. It is part of recovery and it is just a sign that you need to keep working.
Rehab does work and you should not be embarrassed.
You will need to do research about checking yourself into rehab programs, but many programs can provide you with serious help. Some programs are not effective and make false claims, so you will have to get informed in order to make sure you do not pay thousands of dollars for a program that will not provide the benefits that you expect. However, sometimes, you do need to remove yourself from your surroundings in order to optimize the recovery process. You should not expect that rehabilitation will cure you permanently and any center that tells you they have the cure is lying to you.
However, it can definitely be beneficial to use rehab as an important first step in receiving treatment. Outpatient treatment and therapy can also be beneficial. Most men are goal oriented and have trouble just talking about their feelings in therapy, but certain therapies do have a goal. Therapists can help you identify and manage the triggers of your compulsive behaviors. Therefore, you should not hesitate to reach out for help as soon as you notice a problem.
You can overcome addiction.
When someone becomes severely addicted, it might seem as though stopping is impossible. Even once someone reaches out for help, the long process of recovery can be incredibly daunting. However, anyone can overcome addiction with the right treatment. A cure is not usually an option because you cannot pop a pill to force your brain to start behaving normally, but you can learn to change how you respond to certain situations. It will take time, but that should not discourage you. After all the prognosis is much worse if you never end up seeking treatment. If you can, avoid hitting rock bottom before you admit to anyone that you have problem. Try your best not to feel ashamed and remember that immediate treatment will decrease your chances of suffering from the social, legal, and physical consequences of a serious addiction.
Twelve step programs are not for everyone.
You definitely want to find some sort of treatment option that works for you and most people like to start with twelve step programs. However, do not be discouraged if the twelve step program does not end up working. Twelve step is actually based in very little science. In fact, it is based on religion. For many, admitting loss of control and submitting to a higher power can be a great way to overcome addiction. However, if this type of program does not speak to you, then you can find other ways of “accepting the things you cannot change”. Other programs definitely exist for people who are not interested in faith based treatment. Certain twelve step programs do not even have a religious component and these twelve step programs can definitely be a good option for some people.
Nobody wants to be in a situation where they find themselves facing uncontrollable urges to use certain harmful substances. It is shameful and can seriously impact your health. Therefore, if you know someone who has an addiction, you should do whatever you can to be there for them and to encourage them to seek the right type of treatment. If you have an addiction, you should not hesitate to talk to someone about getting the help that you need. Ideally, help will be simple and even easy, but you should not be discouraged if it takes you time to overcome your addiction.