Most people know the basic facts about addiction, but there are still a number of misconceptions and stereotypes about the disease. Decades of research in the field of addiction medicine have provided many insights regarding the nature of addiction, and the treatments available at an addiction recovery center are more effective than ever. If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug or alcohol problem, there are a few essential facts you should know:
Addiction is not a choice, but recovery is!
Some people mistakenly believe that addiction is nothing more than a lack of willpower. In reality, people don’t choose to become addicted. Genetic factors can strongly influence a person’s risk for addiction; environmental factors such as family upbringing and peer group also play a role. Addiction experts have concluded that neurological differences exist in people who suffer from addiction. These differences act as both a cause and an effect of the disease.
An addiction to prescription drugs is no different than one to illicit drugs
Prescription drug abuse has reached near-epidemic proportions in this country, yet some people believe that getting high with legal drugs carries less of a stigma than using illegal street drugs. Prescription painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs can be safe and effective when used as prescribed, but these medications are no safer than illicit drugs. They affect the brain in the same way, and people who abuse these drugs often require addiction help; in fact, nearly every addiction center offers treatment programs for prescription drug addiction.
Addiction cannot be cured
Addiction is a chronic disease: Like diabetes, arthritis and heart disease, it can be successfully managed, but it can’t be cured. Recovery is a lifelong process, and relapse is a common part of addiction recovery. If you experience a relapse, it’s important to address the issue right away so you can get back on the path to recovery. A relapse isn’t a failure; it’s a learning experience.
It’s not uncommon to be addicted to more than one substance
It’s easy to assume that an addicted person has one drug of choice and sticks to it. However, it’s quite common to see cases of polysubstance abuse, where multiple classes of substances are being abused. Some users combine heroin and cocaine in a process called “speedballing”, while others might use alcohol to combat the unpleasant effects of stimulants. It can be more difficult to treat a case of polysubstance abuse, but a comprehensive rehab program that includes addiction counseling can lay the foundation for long-term recovery.
Addiction occurs in every demographic
Addiction doesn’t discriminate: It affects people from every demographic. Gender, race and ethnic background don’t make much difference when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction; if you go to an addiction group or meeting, you’re likely to meet a wide variety of people from all walks of life. The disease has reached nearly every corner of the United States, from inner-city streets to affluent suburbs.
These facts about drug and alcohol addiction can help dispel some common misconceptions about addiction disease. If you or someone you love could benefit from addiction treatment, contact The Discovery House today at 1 (855) 203-7930 to speak to an addiction counselor. We can provide information about the treatment programs at our addiction rehab center and answer any questions you might have about addiction and recovery.