Dealing with an addiction isn’t only hard on the one suffering. Addiction is also a challenge for the addict’s family and friends. Loved ones often feel as if they are helpless as if there were no way to help the addict get well. However, that is not the case. There are myths about addiction that prevent so many people from reaching out for help. This article will explain why those myths are just myths.
Among the many addiction myths and facts, we will look at is the role of rehab. Rehab treatment is the best bet for an addict to get back in control. If you know someone who needs help, there are ways you can help and people who want to assist you. Contact us at (385) 327-7418 to learn about rehab centers in your area that are equipped to help anyone overcome their addictions.
Help is Beyond Your Control
Myths: “I can keep my loved one from using drugs or alcohol,” “I can cure my loved one by myself,” “The addiction isn’t important,” or “If we ignore the addiction, it will go away.”
Truth: If your loved one is addicted, it’s not something you (or they) can control. It is a disease. Addiction is a complicated disease that will not go away by itself if you care for the person. The person needs professional care from professional workers who understand the nature of addiction. If you truly want your loved one to get well, you will seek help from those who are qualified to help them. You would not try to treat your loved one on your own for heart disease or cancer. Serious diseases require serious help from professionals. Likewise, treating addiction is a job for the experts.
As strange as it can sound, living with a loved one addicted to drugs or alcohol can make you sick, too. Maybe you think you can control your loved one’s actions or that the problem isn’t important. You may be sick with co-dependency. One person’s addiction can affect an entire family. Please do not try to deny that a problem exists when it does.
You cannot control your loved one’s addiction, but you can control yourself. You can take the steps necessary to get your loved ones the help they need. If you are having trouble reaching out for help, know that there are resources for you as well. The people at rehab centers understand that family dynamics can sometimes prevent addicts from a full recovery. You could be enabling the addiction by ignoring it. Please do not do that. Reach out to the people who can help your loved one – or you – find a better life.
It’s Not Their Fault
Myths: “Addiction is somebody’s fault,” “Addicts can stop whenever they want to,” “Addicts need to be punished to stop their addiction.”
Truth: Again, addiction is a disease. Addiction occurs in a subconscious area of the brain called the mesolimbic dopamine system. The disease dramatically affects a person’s body. At the same time, somebody may have made the initial move to start using drugs or alcohol, an addict’s body changes to function correctly without the substance.
An addict can’t just quit without seriously altering their body functions. The change in function causes the common withdrawal symptoms that addicts face when they try to quit. However, it is possible to get through those symptoms and get the body back to a more normal state; but, you should not attempt that process without professional help. Detoxification needs to be supervised to ensure its success. In some cases, it can be fatal to try to detox without the proper help.
A Chronic Illness
There are so many myths about substance abuse. The myth of an “easy recovery” is reinforced by the fact that many treatments are behavioral (talk) therapies (including Twelve Step programs) that don’t involve complex procedures. However, this is not always the case. One of the reasons that addiction is so difficult to treat is that each person is an individual. Each person’s treatment plan has to vary. If behavioral therapy is all that is necessary, then that therapists will utilize that treatment. The fact that the treatment “looks easy” doesn’t mean the recovery is easy. That’s not how it works.
Each person’s treatment plan must look at all the factors that may be helping them stay addicted. It makes no sense to punish someone for an addiction any more than you would punish someone for catching a cold. Punishment for crimes may be necessary, but punishing someone to cure them isn’t going to work.
Addiction is Always A Problem
Myths: “Addiction to some drugs (aspirin, prescription drugs, marijuana, etc.) isn’t a big problem.”
Truth: Let’s look at the facts about drugs. Medication isn’t safe just because it has been prescribed by a doctor. Prescription drugs are pills or liquids ordered for a specific patient for a specific medical purpose. Medical professionals who prescribe these drugs need to consider many factors, including the health of the patient and the proper dosage amounts. If factors like these are ignored, any prescription medication can lead to serious harm for anyone.
Abusing prescription drugs can lead to serious health problems, including addiction. Misconceptions about drugs can make it difficult to believe that medication is addictive. The same truths apply to over-the-counter medication. Painkillers, tranquilizers, and stimulants can be misused to the point that a person can become very ill or begin an addiction. The disease is still a disease, even if the damage isn’t obvious.
Risks of Teen Marijuana Abuse
While many adolescents think marijuana is relatively harmless or non-addictive, the truth is that it can impact their emotional regulation, thinking abilities, and physical health. While many states are legalizing medicinal marijuana, it remains illegal for minors nationwide. Teens need to understand the risks of marijuana and talk to them about pot use early and often.
Like any drug sold on the black market, marijuana is unregulated and often mixed with other substances to increase its weight and profit margin. Some marijuana sold on the black market contains substances like bacteria or heavy metals. The argument that “marijuana is natural” doesn’t take factors like this into account.
There isn’t a lot of solid data yet regarding the effects of club drugs, including ecstasy, GHB, ketamine, Rohypnol, methamphetamine, and LSD. They seem to affect everyone differently based upon the dosage and the person. Emergency room reports are enough to indicate that club drugs like these are very dangerous, however.
Don’t Ignore Mental Health
Myths: “Addiction has nothing to do with mental health,” “Depression is just a feeling,” “Rehab isn’t necessary because my loved one isn’t crazy.”
Truth: A mental health issue can often lead to a substance abuse issue. A teen who is feeling depressed may turn to marijuana to get rid of the feeling. Should the teen keep returning to marijuana, not only will they become addicted, but, they will not address the depression that caused the addiction in the first place.
Additionally, substance abuse can trigger mental health issues. Rehab is successful because it tries to take all of these factors into account. Recovery is much more difficult if you only focus on half of the problem. A person needs to be treated for each of the illnesses they suffer from.
Depression and Addiction: A Two-Way Street
Depression is a mental illness that hinders a person’s ability to live a normal life. It isn’t just a feeling. Depression includes a loss of interest in normal activities and a change in eating or sleeping patterns. Young adults experience depression quite often. The myths about addiction may mislead you into believing false information about mental health. However, addiction and mental health go hand-in-hand.
While it is true that many recover from depression, recovery can certainly be hindered by other factors. Think of the teen who abuses marijuana to mask depression. True recovery for that teen will mean dealing with the drug use as well as the depression.
Getting rehab help is not the same as going into a mental institution. The people in rehab are not insane. They are people in need of medical or emotional help. They are people who need to learn how to make better choices again. While mental health issues may be an issue, it is not a question of insanity but rather how to deal with the mental health illnesses preventing recovery.
A person with depression hasn’t necessarily lost their sanity. However, the mental health issue of depression should still be dealt with by people who know how to deal with it. Saying “snap out of it” will not be enough. Each patient needs the proper care that is available at a qualified rehab facility.
Relapse Isn’t Failure
Myth: “Recovery doesn’t work because people have relapses.”
Truth: This is one of many common misconceptions about addiction. An addict can indeed “fall off the wagon” and need to go back to rehab again. But relapse also occurs with other diseases (diabetes, cancer, etc.)
Each person is different, and there is no one magic cure for addiction. An addict recovers by understanding what caused the addiction and learning what will be necessary (medically or otherwise) to defeat their triggers.
The 12-Step program is a very effective method to help alcoholics recover. However, it is not the only method. If one particular treatment does not work for a person, that doesn’t mean the person is without hope or that the particular treatment is no good. The right treatment will be different for each person.
Good treatment draws upon many different methods, each of which can help a person recover. If one particular method didn’t work for you or your loved one, it might simply be a case of finding the type of treatment that will. That is part of the mission of rehab centers. Rehab works by taking as many factors as possible and determining a treatment plan that will be the most beneficial. Do not believe the myths about addiction that lead you to believe relapse is a failure.
Ask for the Help
We have looked at many basic myths about addiction that prevent people from going to rehab therapy. Once we understand the truth about addiction, we can better understand why rehab therapy is so important. Some kind of rehab treatment is vital for anyone serious about overcoming addiction. Going to rehab is not a sign of weakness. That’s one of many misconceptions of substance abuse.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. Addicts need help to achieve a full recovery. Remember, this isn’t something that goes away by itself. All addicts need professional help. If you or a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, please reach out and take the first steps towards getting well. Contact us today at 614-502-6247 to learn about rehab facilities near you and how they can help.
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