Substance abuse disorders and addiction impact more than 23 million Americans annually, making addiction an epidemic. Unlike certain conditions like infections, addiction is a chronic and incurable condition. While some myths about drugs include things like you can’t get addicted from just one use, the truth is that all psychoactive substances can lead to physical and psychological dependence.
Addiction is also a disease that creates potentially devastating and irreversible symptoms. As the stages of addiction progress, you become more and more dependent on your substance of choice. This can cause you to place a higher priority on your drug use than on your education, career or physical health. The help from an addiction treatment program allows you to become sober, and gain the tools for long term recovery.
Common Myths About Drugs
All drugs, including prescription medications, carry a risk of addiction. While certain drugs, like marijuana, cause psychological addictions, others, like opiates, can cause physical dependence. That means that while you may not become physically dependent on substances like marijuana, you can still develop an addiction that requires treatment.
Some of the most prevalent myths about drugs include:
- Certain drugs aren’t addictive
- Only certain people can develop substance abuse disorders
- Addiction is a choice, not a disease
- Prescription medications are safer than illicit drugs
- Mixing multiple substances is safe
One of the most popular myths about drugs is that addiction is a choice, not a disease. While using drugs at a certain stage of addiction is a choice, as the disease progresses, your brain chemistry is altered and your judgment is impaired. This means that addiction causes physical changes to your brain that can change your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
In fact, having a strong desire to quit is common during addiction. Since your brain’s pleasure and reward center changes and begins to positively reinforce your drug use, addiction makes it hard to stop using without help. Even though myths about drugs may claim that you can stop using at any time, the truth is that all substances carry the risk of addiction which can cause you to lose complete control of your drug use. Addiction therapy programs help you return your brain to a more healthy state. Then, you can begin work on the coping skills you will need to ensure a strong recovery.
How Addiction Works
Once you become addicted to your substance of choice, you can deal with intense cravings and painful withdrawal symptoms if you immediately stop using it. Detox is the first step in recovery but also the most difficult one. Since symptoms will stop if you start using your substance of choice again, withdrawal can make it very hard to stop using. Treatment centers offer detox programs to help you through the initial stages of recovery, which can help limit the severity of your symptoms and make your withdrawal process more comfortable.
When your withdrawal symptoms stop, you can still deal with cravings, especially when you are exposed to triggers. At an inpatient rehab center, you receive extensive support that helps you take the first steps to recovery. Then, you begin learning to manage the triggers and stressors you may encounter outside of treatment.
Even though you can avoid certain triggers, other ones, especially stress, are unavoidable. Finding ways to manage your negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions is another important part of treatment. During addiction, you rely on drugs and alcohol to cover up or cope with negative emotions.
That means that treatment requires you to learn how to utilize healthy coping strategies. Treatment also provides extensive relapse prevention education, which helps you prepare for triggers and cravings. Another benefit of treatment is that it greatly increases your chances of successfully recovering.
Staying engaged in further treatment, like an intensive outpatient program, ensures that you have the guidance necessary to avoid relapsing.
Addiction Treatment Options
While popular myths about drugs may convince you that experimenting with substances like opiates is safe, the truth is addiction starts with your first use. The stages of addiction can progress rapidly, resulting in physical dependency as soon as within weeks of your first use. Early treatment is essential to beating addiction. Call us today at 1.844.768.1161 to learn more about how we can help you achieve recovery.