Myths about drug and alcohol addiction

Myths About Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

The topic of drug and alcohol addiction and its treatment will always continue to be surrounded by a number of myths that create confusion and misinformation among people as they tend believe in the myths without questioning their credibility.

These myths keep people away from seeking the help they need; therefore, it is necessary to banish them so those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction can get appropriate help.

Myth # 1: People only need the willpower to overcome drug or alcohol addiction.

Fact: Although willpower has an important role to play in the treatment of any disease, no serious illness can be overcome by it alone. Diabetes or cancer cannot be beaten by just mentally resisting their progress. Similarly, addiction can also not be treated without seeking help. Over time, addiction creates some changes in the structure of the brain which makes it difficult to overcome, that is why getting help from medical professionals who can structure treatment plans accordingly is extremely important.

Myth # 2: For a treatment to work, the person has to want it.

Fact: Although it is important for a person who has to overcome substance abuse problems to want help but quite often, the person is told or asked by a friend or a family member to seek treatment. In fact, evidence recommends that individuals under ‘high-pressure’ treatment schemes do better than others, even though they did not enter the treatment willingly.

Myth # 3: The person has to hit the ‘rock-bottom’ to realize they need help.

Fact: While numerous individuals endure losses due to their addiction, many of them are functional and decide to get help while many aspects of their lives are still active. You do not have to wait until you have lost everything before taking positive steps toward a bright future. In fact, the earlier you admit that you need help to overcome drug or alcohol abuse, the better will it be for successful treatment.

Myth # 4: One type of addiction treatment can help everyone.

Fact: No individual is the same and every individual’s struggle with drug or alcohol addiction is also not the same. Therefore, there is no single treatment solution that will work with every type of addiction. Even individuals who are addicted to the same substance might require different forms of treatment. Some individuals may need an outpatient setting, residential treatment or partial hospitalization, while others may only need AA meetings and regular individual therapy. Treatment programs must be customized according to the needs of affected individuals in order to ensure that they receive the best suitable treatment.

Myth # 5: Treatment does not usually work.

Fact: Treatment can and does work. According to studies conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, treatment can decrease drug abuse problems by 40 – 60 percent. Additionally, it can also decrease crime by 40 – 60 percent, and raise the odds of employment by 40 percent. This research also cited that treatment of addiction can decrease the risk of contracting deadly infectious diseases, for example, HIV. It is possible that treatment may not be successful the very first time every time, but with determination, patience, and potent professional care, most of the affected people are able to successfully overcome their drug or alcohol addiction.

Myth # 6: Treatment needs to occur only once.

Fact: Like the treatment of other persistent conditions, for example, heart disease or diabetes, treatment for drug or alcohol addiction is also an ongoing one and usually include a combination of medications, therapy, and lifestyle modifications. The perception that a single discipline of treatment should be enough promotes the thought that individuals who require long-term rehab or repeated treatments to manage their symptoms are somehow failures, which is not at all true.

Myth # 7: If treatment fails once, you should not seek it again since it is a waste of time and money.

Fact: While it is the reality that treatment of substance abuse and addiction is expensive, the cost of not seeking it is far more expensive. Without treatment, affected people are at a risk of experiencing financial loses, losing relationships, losing their jobs, and even losing their lives. Moreover, many individuals need multiple different disciplines of treatment. The need for multiple cares reflects the severity of their addiction problem. It can require time to figure out which type of care will best suit the individuals. Sadly, this procedure can demand an ample amount of trial and error, but it does not mean that treatment will not be effective for the individuals at all.

Myth # 8: People cannot be forced to seek treatment.

Fact: Drug or alcohol addiction treatment does not have to be always voluntary. People obliged to seek treatment by legal system can be as successful as those who seek it voluntarily. In fact, sometimes they do better as the likelihood of remaining in the treatment for long-term and completing it is more. In 1999, more than half of the adolescents who sought treatment were directed by the criminal justice system to do so.

Myth # 9: Addiction treatment is like stopping drugs cold turkey.

Fact: The staff working at addiction treatment centers are professional and highly trained to help people overcome their addiction in the most efficient and comfortable ways possible. In cases of severe abuse and addiction, a supervised drug rehab is usually recommended to wean people off with the least side-effects. It is always better to go through a drug rehab process under the guidance and supervision of trained personnel than quitting it on your own as this can lead to potentially fatal outcomes.

Myth # 10 Relapse is equal to failure.

Fact: Although rehab centers in their treatment programs work their best to help their patients avoid relapse, often it is simply a part of the recovery process. For example, people who are being treated for diabetes also experience some setbacks, as the ingest a thing that can trigger symptoms or as the disease process changes. This is similar for addiction as well. Avoiding addictive substances and recognizing stressors that can trigger compulsive behaviors are parts of a treatment plan. While these aspects are designed to avert relapse, experiencing a relapse does not mean the treatment has completely failed. One should continue to seek treatment wholeheartedly.


It is important to not pay heed to rumors and seek professional help to get answers to your questions. Call Addiction Rehab Centers today for a free consultation.