Facts and Myths About Drug/Alcohol Addiction

Myth:
Drug addicts are lazy or lack the motivation to quit.
Fact:
Drug addiction is a disease that changes the way your brain operates. For addicts, a drug is not a bad habit they can just walk away from — recovery frequently involves therapy, counseling and medical supervision.
Myth:
Detox and rehab are the same thing.
Fact:
Detox refers to the initial withdrawal period in which the chemical changes that your body has undergone as an addict begin to reverse. Rehab is a longer, more complex process that involves not just avoiding drugs or alcohol, but addressing the underlying emotional issues that cause you to use, as well as re-learning positive behaviors to take the place of your addiction.
Myth:
Addiction is a moral failing.
Fact:
Countless people experiment with drugs without becoming addicted. What differentiates an addict from someone who can simply try something once and walk away is partially the way their brains are wired — addiction has nothing to do with their personality or moral compass.
Myth:
Prescription drugs are safe, and street drugs are not.
Fact:
When a doctor prescribes painkillers, anti-anxiety medication or other powerful mood-altering drugs, he or she is doing so because, for a short time, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. All drugs have the potential for abuse, and in fact, over 45% of drug-related emergency room admissions are due to prescription abuse.
Myth:
All 12 step programs have a religious component.
Fact:
The 12 step model is flexible enough to accommodate people of all religious faiths. The important message is not so much submitting to God but realizing there are things we are powerless to control.
Myth:
Drug rehab treatment has to be difficult.
Fact:
Drug addiction isn’t a crime you need to be punished for. It’s a medical condition requiring clinical treatment that respects the comfort of the client. Drug rehab clinics are increasingly moving away from the isolation model that dominated the field for years — instead, treatment focuses on providing a comfortable, stress-free environment where an addict can do the difficult emotional work required to heal.
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