There are many myths and misperceptions about addiction and addiction recovery floating around. Much of our scientific knowledge about addiction is relatively new, so it’s not surprising that people have old, long-held beliefs that are incorrect.
In our experience as a professional addiction treatment center, here are the top five myths about addiction:
Myth #1: A person can quit if they really want to.
Willpower has little to do with addiction. No amount of willpower alone can make an addict change or overcome their behavior. A critical component of the addiction recovery process is recognizing and understanding the underlying pain of addiction. Addicts must be equipped with the appropriate tools to deal with their addictive behavior and unhealthy patterns for successful long-term recovery.
Myth #2: Addicts are weak people.
Addiction is not a character flaw or a weakness – it is a disease. Addicts are powerless over their addiction – understanding this tenet is one of the first steps to addiction recovery. No one chooses to become an addict. Addiction takes a heavy toll on the addict and those who love them. The path to addiction is complicated. Many addicts understand they are hurting themselves and loved ones, but the forces of addiction are overpowering.
Myth #3: Addicts don’t seek treatment until they hit “rock bottom.”
Motivation for treatment differs from person to person. Some people recognize they have a problem on their own and choose to seek treatment. Others have friends or family suggest or insist on treatment. Some people seek professional treatment due to successful interventions. Some have to enter treatment centers due to court orders. Anyone who feels they have an addiction or abuse problem should seek professional treatment. It is not necessary to hit “rock bottom” before seeking professional help.
Myth #4: Addicts don’t want help.
While many addicts do not want to enter a treatment center initially, most are thankful once treatment is over and they are in recovery. For an addict, their addiction is their best friend – their coping mechanism for all of life’s challenges. They must be taught to understand the destructiveness of their addictive behavior and find new routes to happiness. Overcoming addiction is difficult work, but recovery is achievable and deeply satisfying.
Myth #5: All treatments for addiction are the same.
No single form of treatment works for everyone. Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” treatment for addiction. Even people who are addicted to the same substance react differently to various forms of treatment. The most successful treatment centers create individualized programs to suit the specific needs and challenges of each client.
Education about addiction and addiction recovery is vital for helping those in need of professional treatment.