7 Myths About Addiction That May Surprise You

When you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it may feel like there is no way out. It can also be easier to make excuses rather than address the problem. You might hold off on seeking help because of misinformation. Know the facts and bust the myths when it comes to addiction.

Myth 1: Overcoming addiction is simply a matter of willpower. You can stop using drugs if you really want to.

While internal motivation is an important part of creating sobriety, it takes intensive professional treatment to successfully achieve long-term abstinence. For some, medication can also be a helpful tool alongside behavioral therapy in treating addiction.

Myth 2: Drug and alcohol detox is enough for recovery.

Medical detox is an important first stage of addiction treatment as it helps the body safely adjust back to a substance-free state. However, detox alone is rarely enough to achieve long-term abstinence. Continued addiction treatment therapies are necessary for success

Myth 3: You have to hit rock bottom before you can get better.

Recovery can begin at any point in the addiction process—and the earlier, the better. There is no need to wait for a “rock bottom” moment. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction treatment can help, don’t wait.

Myth 4: You can’t force someone into treatment; they have to want help.

Treatment doesn’t have to be voluntary to be successful. People who are pressured into treatment by their family, employer, or the legal system are just as likely to benefit as those who choose to enter treatment on their own. As they sober up and their thinking clears, many formerly resistant addicts decide they want to change.

Myth 5: Treatment didn’t work before, so there’s no point trying again.

Recovery from drug addiction is a long process that often involves setbacks. Relapse doesn’t mean that treatment has failed or that you’re a lost cause. Rather, it’s a signal to get back on track, either by going back to treatment or adjusting the treatment approach.

Myth 6: Remaining in treatment for a few days is a sufficient amount of time.

Although the appropriate duration of treatment depends on each individual, longer durations of treatment have been found to be associated with the best outcomes. Research shows that most people struggling with addiction need a minimum of three months in treatment to stop or significantly reduce their substance use.

Myth 7: You can only get addicted to illegal drugs.

Medication prescribed by a doctor can still be addicting. Legal drugs like Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin, Codeine, Adderall, and Xanax are all examples of prescription medications that people can become addicted to. Alcohol and marijuana are also examples of substances that can lead to addiction but are not illegal.

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