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Myths About Drug Abuse and Addiction

MYTH 1: Willpower is all one needs to beat addiction.

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TRUTH: Prolonged substance use alters the way the brain works. The brain sends signals of powerful and intense cravings, which are accompanied by a compulsion to use. These brain changes make it extremely difficult to quit and often a treatment program is required.


MYTH 2: Those with substance use disorders have to hit "rock bottom" before they can get help.

TRUTH: Recovery can begin at any point in the addiction process. Given the impacts on the brain and possible consequences of addiction, the earlier one can get treatment, the better. The longer drug abuse continues, the stronger the addiction becomes and the harder it is to treat. Get help early rather than holding out for the perfect desperate moment.

MYTH 3: Addiction is a disease; there's nothing you can do about it.

TRUTH: Most experts agree that addiction is a brain-based disease, but that doesn't mean one is a helpless victim. The brain changes related to addiction can be treated and reversed through therapy, medication, exercise, and other treatments. As with any behavioral change, a personal commitment to change comes from within and requires a commitment to focus on the treatment plan.

MYTH 4: Addiction is lifelong.

TRUTH: Addiction is different in every person, where some struggle for years and others manage to respond to treatment quickly. The ultimate goal is that long-term recovery will allow people to lead normal and productive lives.

MYTH 5: People can't force someone into treatment; if treatment is forced, it will fail.

TRUTH: Treatment doesn't have to be voluntary to be successful. People who are pressured into treatment by their family, employer, or the legal system are just as likely to benefit as those who enter treatment voluntarily. People are often able to think more clearly as they sober up, which can help foster change.

Adapted from: Helpguide.orgExit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving