Psychiatry: Myths About Substance Abuse Addiction

Substance addiction in any form is often difficult for the person, family, and friends. Everyone is trying to give advice and recommendation on how to curb the addiction. Some even go as far as attributing the addiction to supernatural causes, but these are done out of concern and good intention. However, like any other mental illness, addiction also harbors the right amount of myths that are widely believed by the general public. Here are some of the most common myths about substance abuse:  


Addiction Is Due To Weak Willpower 

Hailey Shafir, LPCS, LCAS, CCS-I explains that “Symptoms of Substance Use Disorders include frequent use, prolonged use, cravings to use, and an inability to stop or cut back. The hallmark symptom of a Substance Use Disorder is continued use even after a person has experienced negative consequences because of their use (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).” And with modern research and studies on psychiatry, it is proven that addiction is not due to low willpower but rather a multitude of factors. Addiction is now viewed as a mental illness and not a weak judgment or moral failing. Some people are capable of sudden withdrawal and can quickly shift on their addiction while others need assistance from experts to conquer their vices. It is important to remember for both the addict and immediate family circle that addiction is not a choice. It is a disease. Seek professional help if necessary. Strengthen your support group and divert attention to healthier alternative activities.  


Detoxification Is The Answer 


Detoxification is a stage of elimination of all the toxic substances from the body. However, “The first step was to understand that our goal was to mainstream addiction treatment into the general delivery of health care.” Navdeep Kang, PsyD implies. Due to the continual use of these substances, it can result in significant withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, it is highly recommended to stay at the recovery center/health institution for the monitoring of withdrawal systems. The first step in undergoing treatment is the process of detoxification. Healing is the next phase, and the most challenging part is staying sober.  


Rehabilitation: An Option Exclusively For Rich People 

It is often seen or heard in the news that certain celebrities checked into a rehab center for depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Yes, it is true that rehabilitation centers are expensive; however, it is not impossible to get in and find means to cover the cost. Many insurance plans can include parts of the drug treatment and below the average income persons are entitled to apply for public health care through Medicaid. Also, some recovery centers give out financial aid and payment programs. Employers may also have assistance to help with costs or a family member might be able to lend you money.  


Rehabilitation Is Not Effective  

Due to various reasons, some individuals would prefer to challenge and conquer their addiction on their own. Others might contest the effectivity of rehabilitation; however, research shows that addiction treatment works. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, studies show that approximately one-third of people treated for alcohol problems demonstrated no further symptoms in a one-year period. In addition, there is a significant reduction in drinking and reports of lesser alcohol-related issues. Rehabilitation is not merely a place, but it’s a source of education, learning, and an environment to jumpstart change. It equips you with the necessary skills and techniques to fight against cravings.  


The Willingness Of The Addict To Recover Is A Prerequisite  


“Admitting you have a problem is the first step in treating your addiction. However, due to the nature and the danger of this disease, simply just stopping on your own is highly unadvisable.” That’s what Dr. Howard Samuels, PsyD said. In support groups and discussions about addiction, the desire to get better or the acceptance of the situation is desired to make a conscious change; however, according to research, in addiction recovery regardless of the individual’s wants for rehabilitation or forced by family members or court order, the results are comparable.