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Addiction Myths that Damage Recovery

January 28, 2014
Addiction is a serious illness and is should be treated as such. However, many myths prevail in our culture that undermines the work done by drug rehabilitation clinics, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Not only are many of these myths untrue, they damage the efforts that addicts make to get themselves clean. Here are some of the most common myths that we hear:
 
  1. Only bad people become addicted
There are many people who think that certain people are destined to become addicts because of their background or personality. This attitude leads to the myth that only bad people from deprived backgrounds can become addicted. Research has shown that people from all corners of society can become addicted. Many will perform bad deeds whilst suffering from the illness of addiction. However, the illness can be treated via drug or alcohol rehabilitation.
 
  1. Addicts must hit rock bottom before effective treatment can be taken
This myth is particularly dangerous and is often a massive barrier that prevents recovery from addicts. The simple fact is that addiction can kill. If they hit rock bottom it could very well be too late. Drug or alcohol rehabilitation needs to begin as soon as possible. The earlier treatment can begin, the higher the chances of recovery.
 
  1. The same treatment works for everyone
“Joe Bloggs did this so you should too…” Just because a solution worked on one persn, it does not mean that it is ideal for all. Everyone is different and there can be different underlying issues that lead to addiction. Effective rehabilitation programmes should be tailored to the individual.
 
  1. Cannabis is not harmless
There is a common perception that cannabis is not addictive and is therefore safe to use. On the contrary, it is estimated that 9% of those who use the drug will have some dependency to it. Symptoms are similar to those of nicotine withdrawal; including irritability, sleep deprivation and anxiety.
 
  1. Once detox is finished the battle is over
Detox is only the first step. The real challenge is changing the way you think about life and addressing the underlying issues that led to addiction. Effective alcohol and drug rehabilitation will combine detox with psychotherapy and stress management to allow addicts to cope with life without drugs and minimise the chance of relapse.
 
  1. Rehab is just for one drug, you can still use others afterwards
Some people will get clean on cocaine, only to start drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis. Effective rehabilitation should focus on total abstinence. Taking other drugs to fill the gap will not only lead to relapse, but can also result in addiction to these other drugs.
 
  1. Some addictions are ok
Some people think that because they are addicted to alcohol that they should not be in the same category as heroin addicts. However, alcohol is a drug and the addiction negatively affects you and those around you. Therefore, it should be treated the same as any other addiction.
 
  1. Prescription drugs are safe
Because prescription drugs are recommended by a doctor, many will believe that they are safe. Whilst it should be harmless to take these drugs as prescribed, abusing them can have severe consequences. Addiction to prescription drugs should be treated in the same way to other drugs.
 
  1. Natural drugs are safe
Some will argue that drugs that grow in the ground are safe because they are natural products. However, they are still drugs that alter your brain chemistry and can have dangerous or addictive qualities. Additionally, most cannabis today is cultivated for extra strength so it not as natural as you may think.
 
  1. Addiction is a choice
Whilst the initial act of taking drugs is a choice, once addiction takes hold it becomes an illness and should be treated as such. Nobody takes drugs with the intention of becoming addicted and there are often underlying issues that lead to it.
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