There’s no denying that addiction is gaining widespread media coverage. We’re living in the midst of an opioid crisis, with other forms of addiction increasing at alarming rates. But with this increased coverage is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, raising awareness is helping those in need seek help. On the other edge is the rampant spreading of myths crippling many from embarking on the necessary path to recovery.
To help, we’re going to tackle the biggest myths head on. It’s time for a giant dose of reality in the addiction treatment space.
Myth 1: Addiction Treatment Doesn’t Work
You’ve heard it countless times. If not from the formal newsroom, countless TV shows continue to embed the preconceived notion that treatment doesn’t work in our minds. The thought process continues, “Once an addict, always an addict.”
How can we expect people to succeed in a path we’ve already deemed a failure before they step through the door?
Reality: The Right Approach to Treatment Gets Results
Addiction treatment works. There’s no denying that. Here’s where we get the crux of the issues. Sometimes one round of treatment doesn’t work. In fact, many need to go through several forms of treatment, especially if they fall victim to believing Myth 2. That’s setting everyone up for failure.
The other crucial component is pursuing the right form of treatment. Like any medical issue, treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Due to the complexity of addiction, as well as factoring in co-occurring disorders, sometimes it takes time to discern the best treatment for that patient. In short, it needs a holistic approach.
Check out what a comprehensive approach looks like.
Myth 2: A 30-Day Treatment Will Cure Addiction
It’s odd how on one hand, we all deem addiction treatment to be ineffective while simultaneously believing that a 30-day treatment program will solve everything. But that’s where we are. In truth, it might be the lack of success in short-term treatment fueling the first myth.
Reality: Effective Treatment Takes Time
Short-term treatment centers have their role in the recovery process. It’s not the entire process. To see longevity, you have to fully commit to a long-term recovery process. That’s why at Confidential Recovery we created a program where we work with clients for a minimum of two-years.
Myth 3: Relapse Means No Hope for Recovery
It’s a good thing we don’t approach all things in our lives with this mentality. January 1st, we all set out to lose weight. Come February that chocolate cake at Valentine’s looks tempting, and we fall off the wagon. Oh man, it’s game over for your weight-loss goals.
Imagine working with a child learning to ride a bike. “I’m sorry you fell. Rough luck. You can never successfully ride a bike.”
In fact, if we took this approach in all things, we wouldn’t have Disney, PayPal, Vera Wang designer clothing, and the Huffington Post. The list goes on. All of these companies were founded by entrepreneurs who failed countless times. After a failed attempt, they stood back up to try again.
Reality: Relapse Can Be Instrumental In Long-Term Recovery
To accomplish anything important, we need perseverance. Many, in fact most, people going through the recovery process relapse. While a stumbling block, we can actually use a relapse as a leg up in the recovery process. At Confidential Recovery, we do a deep dive dissecting everything that led to the relapse. This empowers the individual to see the exact scenarios that led them to relapsing, and together we work on ways to address triggers in the future.
When approached correctly, a relapse can become a powerful tool. The key is for the individual and the support systems to remain vigilant and committed to the process. Remember, we’re going for perseverance.
Myth 4: All Addicts are Homeless
It’s safe to say we have a lot of preconceived notions of what addicts look like. Take a second to visualize the image of someone who is addicted.
Do you have the picture in your mind?
Did you get an image of Marilyn Monroe? No? What about Kurt Cobain? How about Winston Churchill, Stephen King, or Robert Downey Jr.? In fact, there are countless high-profile, exceptionally successful, individuals who struggled with addiction. Yet we never associate them with a profile of an “addict.”
More than likely, you visualized a homeless individual with a cardboard sign. While it’s true that many homeless individuals suffer from addiction, it’s a far cry from representing the entire population.
Reality: Successful Individuals Suffer From Addiction Too
The cold hard truth is that addiction can take ahold of anyone. In our experience, it disproportionally impacts individuals with high-stress jobs. This includes EMTs, lawyers, and other high-profile professionals. Currently, the medical industry is seeing a heightened percentage of doctors self-prescribing drugs to offset the strain and long hours in their jobs. That’s creating a slippery, and lethal, slope.
It’s safe to say that there’s no one-size-fits-all image for someone suffering with substance abuse.
Myth 5: Treatment Medication is Trading One Drug For Another
It might look strange from the outside looking in to see someone who has been abusing opioids or other substances to return with a doctor prescribed “drug” to treat it, particularly if the addiction is stemming from a doctor prescribed pain reliever in the first place. That’s how many see addiction treatment medication. Unfortunately, few look below the surface to discern the full picture.
Reality: Medical Interventions Can Be Key
If you’ve never suffered from substance abuse, you can never fully grasp the painstaking withdrawal process and continual craving to return. It’s something we hope you never endure. Heroin sits at the top of the list as the most addictive drug. Opioids, crystal meth, and alcohol follow closely behind. That means a nasty detox process.
Medical detox is key. The truth is, going cold turkey on some substances actually creates a lower recovery success rate. If an individual relapses, something we’ve already pointed out is common, an improper withdrawal process can create too much pain and suffering to deserve a second attempt. That’s why a smooth, and successful, detox is so pivotal.
In the past years, we’ve made drastic advancements in developing medications that help ease individuals through the withdrawal process. We use drugs such as Vivitrol®, Naltrexone, and Suboxone® to implement a smooth detox, as well as to manage some of the next phases.
It’s true that a drug like Suboxone® does activate opioid receptors. If you or I were to take them, we would experience a high. But to someone who has been using heroin, it’s not even a blip on the scale. Instead, to them, it helps ease the withdrawal symptoms.
Myth 6: Women Don’t Suffer From Addiction
If we could magically erase this disease for an entire population, we would be ecstatic. Heck, let’s do it for 50% of the world’s population. Poof. Just like that, no woman suffers from addiction.
Alas, that’s not the case. Countless women around the world struggle with substance abuse. Statistically speaking, men have a higher rate of addiction than women. Currently, we are seeing that gap close as the number of women in recovery is climbing.
Here’s one problem with that statistic: fewer women seek treatment than men. We measure the “rate of addiction” based in part on diagnoses and those seeking treatment. Yet, we know fewer women seek treatment. See where we’re going? That statistic only tells part of the story.
Reality: Women are Closing The (Wrong) Gap
Addiction in women is escalating. While in itself it is alarming, the fact that fewer women seek treatment is more alarming. Bottom line: women face more barriers to seeking addiction treatment. To sum it up, there are financial barriers, more stringent societal norms, and the added demands of being caretakers. That’s a lot of cards stacked against them, resulting in far too many women not seeking the help they deserve.
Then there’s another challenge. If a mother suffers from addiction, she constantly fears she will lose her children if she seeks treatment. Yet, unless she actively works to address this problem, she very well could have her children taken from her.
We are here to tell you we’ve never seen a judge remove children from someone who is actively (and aggressively) seeking treatment. We see them removed when a parent ignores their problem, putting their children at risk.
Don’t Fall Victim to the Myths
If you or a loved one needs help, it’s time to cut through the preconceptions and misunderstandings to get onto the path of recovery. At Confidential Recovery, we meet individuals (and their families) wherever they are in the process. Our holistic outpatient treatment, combined with the guarantee of confidentiality, equips professionals to enter meaningful treatment while they continue in their careers and living at home.
To better address the needs of women seeking treatment, we also have a women’s only track. Here we dive into the unique issues, often related to past trauma triggering the substance abuse.
Because you can’t go on living with things as they are, it’s time to get into a treatment program that works. It starts with a call (or a text). Call (619) 452-1200 or text (619) 993-2738 now.
To discover different options for addiction recovery, take a look at the other drug and rehab centers available in California on Sober Nation.