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Four Myths Of Addiction Treatment

Any one of us can be vulnerable to addiction from the sheer exposure to substances and when it comes to pleasurable experiences, addiction has no bounds. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, “Addiction is based on the principle that people tend to repeat certain behaviors if they are reinforced for engaging in them.” Basically, anything that makes you feel good has the power to alter the way you relate to future experiences leading to addictions that sometimes, aren’t even regarded as such until the consequences pile up.

Negative mindsets keep a majority of addicts from setting goals and making addiction treatment decisions that are important to their long-term health, survival, and stability in their homes, families, and communities. The unfortunate ones will go through a myriad of dilemmas and consequences before ever regarding addiction treatment due to lack of treatment knowledge and/or long standing myths that are being debunked through scientific evidence, research, and treatment successes daily. The following, are four myths of addiction treatment that need to be recognized.

Myth #1 – Addiction Treatment must be Voluntary

addiction treatment myths

Most addicts are coerced into seeking treatment rather than making the choice independently.

In the best of scenarios, a person who has an uncontrollable compulsion to use substances will be able recognize their need for treatment and get help before a crisis occurs. Unfortunately, the opposite is usually what happens because most people are ambivalent about getting help until they become desperate enough in some area of their life.

In fact, many people are coerced into to treatment with little dedication to the process to alleviate the consequences of an arrest or other judicial concern, family or spousal disruption, or other significant event. These same individuals have been proven to have comparable success rates as the most motivated individuals who enroll in addiction treatment voluntarily.

Myth #2 – Addiction Treatment is only for the Worst of the Worst

A lot of the denials, rationalizations, and minimization go into reasoning the need for addiction treatment and people typically compare their relevant addiction problems to those of others who have wreaked havoc and destruction in their lives and those around them. If they can maintain a job, home, or stay abreast of family and social elements, they feel they are okay and addiction treatment is unwarranted. Those who wait until things get really bad typically relate to the myth that treatment is only for the worst of the worst addictions where individuals are incapable of making the right choices.

According to a research study by theCommittee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders, The Scripps Research Institute ” Drug addiction, similar to other chronic physiological and psychological disorders such as high blood pressure, worsens over time, is subject to significant environmental influences (e.g., external stressors), and leaves a residual neural trace that allows rapid “re-addiction” even months and years after detoxification and abstinence.” No one should feel that they have to delay getting help because their problems appear minor or others think they can do without it. The quicker the addiction is treated, the less inevitable suffering one may experience.

Myth #3 – Addiction Treatment only Works if you are Motivated

The myth that motivation is a prerequisite to addiction treatment no longer flies. Science and research have proven that addiction changes the way a person thinks and behaves based on accumulated neuronal adaptations we naturally take for granted in normal brain functions. The more rewarding the addiction behaviors are, the more salient they become and motivations to change “go out the window”.

One of the primary goals of addiction treatment beyond helping the person achieve abstinence is motivating them toward beneficial changes to improve their health and social functioning. According to the SAMHSA, “Motivation can be understood not as something that one has but rather as something one does. It involves recognizing a problem, searching for a way to change, and then beginning and sticking with that change strategy.”

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works in Addiction Treatment

Myth #4 – Addiction Treatment is a System of Compliancy Measures

Changing the overwhelmingly negative views of addiction as moral failure or some other flaw in character has imbedded the myth that addiction treatment is a system of rules and regulations that must be followed in ordered to succeed. Historically, the stigmas of addiction have been reinforced through criminal justice methods of incarcerating individuals versus getting them the help they really need.

Comprehensive understandings of addictions, thanks to research and other advancements, show us a different side of addiction treatment that is more plausible to success. Instead of focusing on the limitations and deficits of individuals and forcing compliancy measures that are more harmful than helpful, a greater emphasis is on identifying, enhancing, and using the individual’s strengths and competencies to promote recovery and beneficial changes.

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