Myths of Addiction: What You Need to Know

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October 20, 2014

There are many myths surrounding addiction, especially pain pill addiction. We hope to shed some light on a few here:

1) I can quit if I really want to.

Addiction is a disease and, for some, it can be overcome without help. However, for most, help is needed to heal, as with most disease. In addition, research shows that long term use can cause changes in brain chemistry, making recovery even more challenging.

2) Addiction only affects those who are poor, weak, or uneducated.

As a disease, addiction can affect anyone from your daughter’s soccer coach to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Addiction does not discriminate.

3) Addiction is a disease, so there’s really nothing I can do about it.

Yes, addiction is a disease, which is exactly why something CAN be done about it. Healing is possible.

4) If I relapse, recovery is not possible.

In many cases, relapse is just another part of the recovery process. Addiction is a chronic disease and the person who is addicted must make a daily commitment to recovery. A relapse does NOT constitute failure by any means.

5) If I’m addicted, I can’t be productive member of society.

While addiction can definitely have a negative effect on behavior and living a normal life, many are capable of functioning in society while using addictive substances. In fact, this can be a barrier to seeking treatment, as some who are addicted truly believe they are not because they are functioning, holding a job, and have family and friends.

6) Since I am addicted, I can’t be held responsible for my behavior or choices.

Some may believe that, since addiction is a disease, those who are addicted should not be held responsible for their choices. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, by blaming addiction for choices made, recovery is almost impossible. It’s not until the addict takes ownership of their choices and behavior that healing can truly begin.

7) People who get addicted to prescription drugs are different than those who are addicted to street drugs.

While prescription drug addiction has become an epidemic in the United states, far outnumbering those who are addicted to heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine combined, the process is the same. The same areas of the brain are effected whether using prescription drugs or street drugs.

8) Treatment should put people in their place.

Even though some who claim to be “healers” do treat their patients like second class citizens, this is NOT the way to recover from addiction. Confrontation and shame-based treatments do not motivate anyone to overcome their addiction. Would someone who has cancer be taunted and criticized for having the disease? Of course not! By the same token, those who are addicted are suffering from a disease and deserve to be treated with respect and compassion. Myths about addiction are damaging to those who are addicted, to their families, and hinder treatment and recovery. By understanding addiction as a disease of the brain and allowing people to recover in a way that works for them, without shame,significant strides can be made against the epidemic of addiction. Every member of the AppleGate Recovery staff understands that addiction is a disease and treats each and every person who comes seeking help with respect and compassion. Call AppleGate Recovery today for a free consultation on how you can stop hurting and start healing.