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Busted: Breaking down Common Myths about Addiction

Addiction is one topic surrounded by myths and misinformation.  People have their own ideas about why people become addicted, who becomes addicted, what treatment is like, and a variety of other topics.  But in reality, many of these thoughts are skewed.  In order to begin breaking down the stigma regarding mental health and addiction, it is important that people understand the facts.  Here are a few common myths when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction and treatment:

1. Only people from lower income or lower socio-economic statuses become addicted.

Drug and alcohol addiction can happen to anyone.  It is a disease that does not discriminate.  Rehab facilities see people from all walks of life – from retail workers and laborers, to housewives, physicians, and lawyers.  It also affects people of all ages.  More youth are trying drugs and alcohol for the first time, but older adults are becoming hooked too.  Addiction is a wide-spread problem that crosses all divides and knows no boundaries.

2. Addiction is a choice.

People often have the misconception that becoming addicted is a matter of will power – If people want badly enough to stop, they can.  However, this is not necessarily true.  Addiction is a disease and it changes the way the brain works.  Many people require professional help to learn how to overcome cravings, change their thoughts and actions, and rebuild their lives.  While it may have been their choice to initially start using drugs or alcohol, as these substances changed the way their brain worked, they became less in control.

3. Prescriptions are safe because they are prescribed by a doctor.

Prescriptions are relatively safe when used exactly as directed.  Many people take them for a short time without any problems.  But when they begin taking them for a prolonged period of time, taking more than directed, or using them for a reason other than prescribed, this can become dangerous.  According to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 2.4 million Americans had abused prescription drugs for the first time within the past year.  It is estimated that around 15 million Americans abuse prescription drugs.

4. Addicts must hit ‘rock bottom’ before they are ready for help.

People seek treatment at all stages of abuse and addiction.  The earlier it is treated, the better.  The longer people abuse drugs and alcohol, the more addicted they become and the harder it is on their body.  Many people are motivated on their own to seek treatment and regain control of their lives.  Others are persuaded by loved ones who are concerned for their well-being.  They do not have to wait until they have hit their lowest point to get help.

5.  Treatment must be voluntary in order for it to work.

While some people voluntarily check themselves in for treatment, others are required to get help by the legal system.  Just because a person does not enter willingly does not mean that treatment will not work.  There are many people who are required to get treatment who successfully complete the program and go on to live drug-free lives.  As they begin their road to recovery they realize the impact their addiction has had on their life and the value of the positive changes they are making.

Addiction and recovery look different for everyone, but it is never too late to get help.  Through personalized treatment plans people can get the help they need to live drug-free and improve their health and quality of life.  If you or a loved one believe you may have a problem with drugs or alcohol, contact Chapters Capistrano today to see how we can help.  There is no wrong time to seek treatment.