According to SAMHSA, over 20.3 million people in the United States suffer from a substance use disorder each year. Of these millions of sufferers, only 11% seek treatment for their addictions. Many individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol are reluctant to recognize that they suffer from an addiction at all. However, it is common even among people who are desperate to stop abusing substances to believe that outside help is unavailable to them.
As a result, the vast majority of addicts and alcoholics spend many years working to manage their substance abuse on their own. Unfortunately, they are rarely successful. Substance use disorders are legitimate medical conditions that alter a person’s ability to make decisions for themselves. To recover from an addiction, seeking outside help is essential. Nonetheless, a wide variety of misconceptions about treatment programs and myths about addiction recovery make far too many people hesitate to reach out for help.
Here are the top 8 Myths About Drug Rehab You Need to Stop Believing
Myth 1: You Need to Hit “Rock Bottom” Before Going to Rehab
While it is certainly true that many individuals end up deciding to go to an outpatient treatment center after experiencing severe consequences, it is not necessary. In fact, outpatient rehab centers help people who suffer from addiction at all levels of severity. Unfortunately, many people have a stereotyped notion of what addiction looks like. Popular television shows and movies often show addicted people living in alleyways or dressed in rags. The reality is that many people who appear to have their lives together suffer from addiction. Substance use disorders, however, tend to progressively get worse. Why wait until you’ve lost everything before getting help? It’s never too early.
Myth 2: Some People Can Manage Their Addictions on Their Own
One of the most common misconceptions about addiction is that people choose to abuse drugs and alcohol. While this may be true for non-addicts, addiction is by its very nature a disorder that takes away a person’s ability to choose. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) specifically defines addiction as a chronic disease that affects a person’s brain circuitry. Trying to treat an addiction oneself by using will power is in many ways like trying to fix a broken ankle by running a marathon.
Myth 3: All Rehab Programs are the Same
Not all treatment programs make use of the same therapeutic modalities or strategies. Just as many people have a stereotyped notion of what addiction looks like, people also tend to have one idea of what a rehab program is. Everyone has seen people in rehab on television. The truth is that there are as many different types of rehab programs out there as there are types of addicts. There are faith-based programs and programs designed to meet the needs of specific populations. Substance-specific programs, such as outpatient alcohol programs and opioid addiction treatment programs, are also available.
Myth 4: If You Relapse After Going to a Treatment Program, Trying Again Won’t Work
People are hard on addicts, often telling them to just “try harder” to stop using drugs on alcohol. However, no one is harder on themselves than addicts themselves. Individuals who relapse after attending rehab often believe that they are lost causes. The reality is that a high percentage of people who achieve long term sobriety relapse once or multiple times before getting sober. Treating a substance use disorder is a challenging experience. If you fail once, see it as a learning experience and try again.
Myth 5: Rehabs Permanently Cure Addiction
Substance use disorders are, unfortunately, not curable. They can, however, be managed. In fact, one of the most important things rehabs work to help addicts understand is that they cannot ever be entirely cured. Understanding this fact is, ironically enough, the key to staying sober. Individuals who believe they are cured have a higher chance of relapsing, since they are likely to believe that they can now use drugs and alcohol like a “normal person.” Instead of curing addiction, outpatient rehabs work to help addicts stay off substances permanently. Doing so puts their substance use disorder into remission and allows them to rebuild their lives.
Myth 6: Rehabs are not Effective for People with Mental Health Disorders
Individuals who suffer from mental health disorders like depression or anxiety often believe that they need drugs and alcohol. While it is true that these substances often do offer temporary relief for the painful symptoms of mental health disorders, drug and alcohol abuse tends to exacerbate these symptoms over time. Outpatient rehabs understand that addiction and mental illness often go hand in hand. Addiction professionals know that treating a substance use disorder without addressing mental health issues and treating mental health issues without addressing substance abuse are rarely effective approaches. The best drug and alcohol rehabs work to treat both conditions.
Myth 7: Chronic Relapsers Are Doomed
Addiction, by its very nature, makes people lose hope. Individuals who suffer from substance use disorders experience a wide range of devastating consequences, yet they are powerless to stop using drugs and alcohol on their own. The experience of trying to get sober and repeatedly failing can indeed be demoralizing. Attending an outpatient program, however, is a great way of recovering hope. In an outpatient program, you’ll meet people who had many of the same experiences you had, and you’ll see how they’ve picked their lives back up. If they can do it, you can too.
Myth 8: Drug Rehabs Are Not Effective
While it is not possible for an outpatient rehab to provide a 100% guarantee that you’ll stay sober for life, they can provide the best possible chances. Avoiding treatment because there’s a chance that you’ll relapse is like refusing to get cancer treatment because there’s a chance it won’t work or that you’ll get cancer again someday. Rehab programs make use of evidence-based treatment modalities that are well-researched. Even if you have dozens of relapses behind you, outpatient treatment programs provide the best chances of recovery.
Treating Your Substance Use Disorder
For individuals who are suffering from addiction, finding a local outpatient rehab should be easy. NuView Treatment Center, located in West Los Angeles, offers the best alcohol rehab and the best drug rehab that the city has to offer. This Los Angeles treatment center works with people suffering from substance abuse problems of all severities to help them get sober and rebuild their lives from the ground up. There’s no reason to suffer alone. If you’re ready to make a change, reach out today.