Myths about Addiction
Those coping with a drug or alcohol addiction can be some of the most honest and courageous people around. When given the right support, people with addictions can go on to lead a happy, productive life. Addicts must deal with both the intrinsic difficulty of addiction and the ever-present threat of relapse, while simultaneously struggling against harmful stereotypes and pervasive myths about addiction that sabotage recovery. Despite decades of quality addiction research, we continue to see how these dangerous myths negatively impact addicts in recovery and their loved ones. Renaissance Ranch Ogden employs only proven methods of effective addiction treatment and are committed to combating such misinformation.
Myth 1 Only Bad People Experience Addiction and Need to be Punished
This is perhaps the most damaging myth for addicts. It causes many otherwise compassionate people to turn their backs on friends and loved ones who develop substance addictions. This misconception also leads to consequences like a punitive justice system that puts addicts behind bars instead of in treatment. Sick people shouldn’t be punished and made to see the error of their ways; they need to be treated in order to recover.
Myth 2 People Become Addicts by Choice
Addiction is no more a choice than cancer or heart disease, and recovery is not as simple as exercising enough willpower. While certain behaviors can contribute to addiction, it is a disease, not a choice. Like other chronic conditions, genetics and environmental factors such as family life, upbringing, and peer influences are also factors for addiction.
Myth 3 Addicts are Usually Addicted to a Single Substance
Addiction researchers previously believed that most addicts had a single drug of choice and were addicted to that one substance. Today, we find that most addicts frequently abuse two or more drugs concurrently. Many addicts use combinations of substances to achieve a more intense high (e.g., cocaine and heroin) or to counteract the less desirable effects of one drug with another (e.g., alcohol after stimulants).
Of special note, polysubstance abuse occurs when a person is addicted to the state of intoxication itself rather than a specific substance, using three or more classes of substances regularly. Polysubstance abuse is more likely to occur in males, young people, and those who began using drugs at a young age. These patients are also more likely to struggle with other mental illness, making the condition especially difficult to treat.
Myth 4 Addiction Treatment Should be Punitive
While medical research has shown addiction to be a chronic disease rather than a moral failing, people with addictions are still treated harshly and with disrespect. This happens even when they have the courage to seek treatment. Addicts are frequently subjected to shame-based methods to “promote” recovery. Such methods are not only dehumanizing but also counterproductive. Research has shown that feelings of shame strongly correlate with chance of relapse.
In contrast, effective addiction treatment is nurturing with a focus on healing the psychological issues that lead to addiction. A sense of self-worth, not shame, is the best motivator for getting clean.
Myth 5 There is a Standard Addiction Treatment Program that Works for Everyone
Like many things in life, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for addiction recovery. One treatment method that is perfect for one person may not help another. That’s why our quality addiction recovery program creates an individual treatment plan for each patient that reflects his or her preferences and needs. Special considerations must be made when treating teenagers, taking into account the child’s maturity level and social environment. Treatment of minors typically requires a great degree of family involvement.
Ready for Lasting Recovery?
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, please consider contacting Renaissance Ranch Ogden. Our team of addiction recovery professionals are committed to providing quality care to those who need it most.