Substance abuse is common in the United States, and many people fail to receive the treatment they need for recovery. In fact, millions of people typically need treatment each year. However, only a small percentage typically receive the care they need to heal. Often, people hesitate to undertake treatment because they’ve heard something from a friend or read an article from an unreliable source that inaccurately describes the process. Here are four myths about addiction treatment.
Myth: Stopping is Just Willpower, So Treatment is Not Needed
Often people erroneously believe that an addiction is just a bad habit. They think that the addict can stop the behavior themselves if they try hard enough. The flip side of this bad premise is that if individuals cannot stop, they are a moral failure.
Addiction, however, is a disease, just as cancer or hypertension are diseases. Scientists at the National Institute of Drug Abuse have found that genetic makeup, experience, and environment can all contain risk factors for becoming an addict. Children of addicts often inherit a genetic predisposition for addiction. Factors such as upbringing, peer influences, and other aspects of family life can predispose a person toward addiction, just as these factors can predispose individuals toward other diseases.
Also, when addicts try to stop using the substance, they can experience physical and mental pain. In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous or even life-threatening. Addicts need treatment to help them manage their risk factors and withdrawal, just as anyone with a disease needs treatment.
Myth: Addicts Often Relapse So Treatment Doesn’t Work
Recovery is a process. Many chronic medical conditions must be treated multiple times; addiction is often one of those. Individuals with addictions also must learn to comply with their doctor’s instructions just as individuals with diabetes, hypertension, or other diseases, do. Sometimes compliance requires more than one try. Sometimes individuals will need to try multiple treatment options to discover the best one for them. The fact is that relapse rates for addicts are roughly the same as those for other chronic diseases. Then, addiction treatment is just as effective as that for asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, or similar diseases.
Myth: Medication-Assisted Treatment Swaps One Addiction for Another
Medications such as naltrexone, buprenorphine, and Suboxone can be effective in reducing cravings for the drug. Doctors sometimes prescribe these drugs to ease withdrawal symptoms so that an addict can focus on counseling, education, and other aspects of their treatment. The doctor will wean the patient off these medication-assisted treatment drugs gradually as withdrawal progresses. Research shows that these drugs can be very effective when used properly and as part of a comprehensive addiction rehab program.
Myth: Treatment is Too Expensive
Comprehensive treatment for addiction, just like comprehensive treatment for other diseases, may require an investment, but many good programs are affordable. In many cases, insurance also covers a large percentage of the cost of treatment.
Comprehensive programs typically include group and individual therapy, medication-assisted therapy, an inpatient or partial inpatient stay in a rehab center, and extended outpatient care. They also often include treatment for other mental health conditions that might contribute to or accompany addictions, such as depression or anxiety disorders. Accessing these different treatment modalities can improve the odds of long-term recovery. When you consider the “costs” of addiction, a comprehensive treatment plan can be valuable in the long run.
Northern Illinois Recovery Center
Northern Illinois Recovery Center offers a comprehensive and affordable addiction treatment program. Our outpatient program is unique; it’s nicer than a state-run facility but without the cost of a high-end, luxury center. Don’t let addiction treatment myths prevent you from receiving the care you need. Give us a call at 855.786.1978 or contact us online today.