Addiction treatment is shrouded in stigma, false expectations, and myths. There are so many stories we tell ourselves about inpatient rehab, or even intensive outpatient treatment and aftercare that are purely fiction. We as a community and even a society need to become more informed and more conscious of the reality of addiction treatment and recovery from addiction, so that in the future there is no fear or stigma attached to the need for drug rehabilitation. These are 7 myths about addiction treatment we all need to stop believing!
- Addiction treatment will cure the addiction
Some people actually believe that after a few weeks, or even a few months in treatment that they have been completely CURED of addiction. This is very far from the truth. In order to recover from addiction or alcoholism a person cannot expect only 30 days or even a few months to rid them of all their problems and think they will be able to go back to casually drinking and/or using, or just being cured without having some plan of action for aftercare. Real addiction requires continued maintenance of some kind in order to facilitate that recovery process, and there is a vast variety of programs out there to do so.
- Addicts and alcoholics MUST hit a bottom for treatment to be effective
It is not necessary for an addict or alcoholic to lose everything and everyone in order to go to treatment and change their lives. Each individual has their own journey, and we have our own ways of coping, reacting, and viewing our lives. Some may not need to lose a job or their family to get help. You may just be tired of the life-style. You don’t have to be half-dead in the gutter or homeless and broke to think you could benefit from addiction treatment.
- Needing treatment for addiction shows a weakness of character
Admitting to yourself and to others your addiction and your desire to get help is in no way, shape, or form a weakness. Coming to terms with your struggles with drugs or alcohol and getting honest and humble enough to seek treatment is actually a sign of great strength, courage and growth. Anyone can continue on a pattern of toxic behavior and abuse. We admit we need treatment not because it is easy, but because it is hard and we are willing to fight for our futures.
- Addiction treatment MUST be something you want
If someone does not want to go to treatment, it does not mean they will not gain anything from going to an addiction treatment facility. Some people think we MUST want to get clean and sober or going to rehab will not work. This is absolutely not the case. I personally had no intention of coming to treatment to get clean and sober; I just ran out of options and wanted a vacation. Only once I got to treatment and actually listened to therapists and others in recovery did I believe that recovering from addiction and alcoholism was a possible or attractive idea.
- All addiction treatment is the same
If you have seen one addiction treatment center you have seen them all right? NO! Each addiction treatment center is not a carbon copy of another, in fact there is such a broad spectrum of different approaches to the treatment of drug addiction and alcoholism that cater to all types of people. In most treatment centers they will even design a specific recovery program and criteria for you based on your addiction, behavioral patterns, and co-existing conditions or health problems to make sure that you receive the most effect manner of rehabilitation.
- Those who relapse after treatment are hopeless
People who relapse after treatment are NOT hopeless. Those who have suffered from drug addiction and have attended treatment already know that the disease of addiction is progressive and powerful, and that it has mental, physical, and emotional leverage on addicts and alcoholics. Relapse does NOT have to be part of your recovery, but if it is, it’s not because you are defective! You are still as capable to benefit from treatment as anyone else stepping into treatment for the first time as long as you remain open and receptive.
- Addiction treatment does not work
This myth is blatantly incorrect. It should be the most obviously false piece of misinformation that has become a myth about addiction treatment; that it just does not work. There are countless people everywhere, including your community most likely, that have actually developed the strategies and tools for recovery in a facility for addiction treatment. Sometimes the key to addiction treatment that will actually work is being open-minded and willing to do what it takes to get the most out of the program, and learning how to maintain after treatment with a personalized aftercare program. Inpatient treatment is effective, intensive outpatient is a strong transition, and continued sobriety through a aftercare program provides some consistence and stability.
Once we are able as a culture to accept drug addiction and alcoholism as a progressive and powerful illness, and we stop subjecting those who suffer from substance abuse problems or addictions to negative stigma including ourselves, we can remove the veil of mystery and believe that gaining the foundation to recovery is absolutely possible through addiction treatment.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135