Myths about Drug Treatment

Misconceptions about drug abuse and the treatment process can keep people trapped in the cycles of addiction indefinitely.  The most damaging myths are those that perpetuate the stigma of addiction, feelings of hopelessness and of ever getting free from the compulsive use of drugs or alcohol. Debunking the myths about drug treatment is also highlighting the essential benefits of professional substance abuse rehabilitation that include restoration of normalcy to everyday life, increased productivity and long term sobriety.

Common Myths about Drug Treatment:

Only weak people need drug treatment
Advancements in technology have enabled scientists to have a greater understanding of just what happens when someone becomes dependent and addicted to drugs.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), drug addiction is a complex disease that demands more than good intentions and moral fortitude to stop.  Based on scientific evidence, drugs can severely impair important neurological functions that removes an individual’s ability to engage in rational thinking and progressively increase uncontrollable behavior.  Even those who want to stop using drugs can have a difficult time if they do not receive treatment that address psychological and physiological functions through a cohesive and systematic approach.

This may be the most dangerous misconception of all because it keeps people  suffering needlessly instead of utilizing valuable evidence-based solutions to drug addiction.

Drug Rehab is only a temporary fix to a moral problem
Many people who become addicted to drugs are often introduced to these addictive substances through doctor prescribed medications designed to help them manage pain.  And, while others voluntarily use drugs for recreational purposes, the outcome of dependence is always a biomedical reaction that drive compulsive drug use which is a symptom of the disease. Whether or not sobriety is maintained is based on factors such as the duration of treatment, if treatment is completed, participation in the aftercare process and frequency of re-exposure to substances of abuse.  Data shows that there are at least 23 million Americans that have successfully recovered from addiction and have experienced long term, and in some cases, permanent sobriety.  

People who relapse after drug rehab just cannot stay clean
While a drug relapse is not necessarily inevitable, it is a part of the addiction process. Scientific research has validated the fact that addiction is a relapsing brain disease.  The potential to relapse is therefore also an inherent aspect of recovery.  As such, drug treatment centers have made relapse prevention education and training an integral component of the rehabilitation process.  Patients who participate in formal drug treatment programs are educated about the various stages and dangers of a relapse, universal and personal triggers as well as gain valuable tools and techniques they can implement to get back to sobriety if a relapse threatens or occurs.  Relapsing is therefore not a measure of whether or not an individual can or cannot stay clean.  It is rather an indication that the rehabilitation process is still in progress.

Drug interventions won’t help people who don’t want help
The nature of addiction makes it difficult if not impossible, in some cases, for the addict to recognize the true impact of their disease.  Based on surveys, addicts are more likely to enter treatment following a drug intervention than families are to stage one.  Studies also revealed that 95% of addicts whose families staged an intervention agreed to enter a treatment program. As the staff at the Mayo Clinic explains, drug interventions are not meant to force people to enter treatment but to motivate substance abusers to seek or accept help to stop the progression of addiction.

Drug treatment is a generic process that put everyone through the same program
There are a wide range of substances of abuse that impact people in various ways.  To be effective, drug treatment must carefully assessment each patient in order to design a comprehensive continuum of care that address the individual needs of that patients.  Professional drug treatment must therefore consider issues such as:

  • The type(s) of substances being abused
  • The physical and psychological condition of the patient
  • Whether the individual has a genetic predisposition to addiction
  • The environment in which drug use occurred
  • Differential effects of addiction on women versus men that requires gender specific treatment
  • If there are underlying issues such as a mental illness or post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Whether the individual has a chronic pain problem that necessitate the ongoing use of pain medication.  
  • The preference of a purely holistic treatment regimen over a conventional or complementary program.

Based on these variables, it is not likely that a one-size-fit-all treatment program will be effective for everyone.  Also, the spectrum of evidence-based treatment models available today give both patients and addiction specialists the option to tailor treatment programs

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.