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Drugs and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre

Live Life Healthcare, Noida

ADDICTION FACTS AND MYTHS: What you need to know about the disease of addiction.

Myth: "Addiction only happens to certain kinds of people."

Fact: Addiction can happen to anyone. There are genetic, social, and psychological risk factors that can put some people at greater risk.

Myth: "Addiction is a choice! Using drugs or alcohol is a choice, so if someone gets addicted, it’s their fault."

Fact: No, No one would choose to get addiction, any more than they'd choose to get cancer. Addiction is a consequence of many contributing factors, including genetics, upbringing, trauma and other influences. People with addiction are usually living pretty miserable lives and wouldn't choose to live that way if given the chance.

Myth: "If someone just uses willpower, they should be able to stop."

Fact: For people who are vulnerable to addiction, substance use can lead to profound changes in the brain. These changes hijack the natural “reward pathway” of the brain. In nature, rewards usually only come with effort and after a delay. But addictive substances shortcut this process and flood the brain with chemicals that signal pleasure. When addiction takes hold, these changes in the brain erode a person’s self-control and ability to make good decisions, while sending highly intense impulses to take drugs. These are the same circuits linked to survival, driving powerful urges no different from those driving the need to eat or drink water. These overwhelming impulses help explain the compulsive and often baffling behavior around addiction. People will keep using even when terrible things happen to them.

Myth: "Addiction can be Cured."

Fact: While there is no cure for addiction, there is the ability to manage it. Ongoing treatment sustains sobriety and prevents relapse. Through a continual commitment to sobriety, you can live a life free of drugs and alcohol.
If an addict claims he or she is cured, there is a risk he or she is no longer attending meetings and therapy sessions — essential to sustaining lifelong recovery. These “cured” people are more at risk for relapse than the person who admits he or she must always work toward not one ultimate cure, but day-by-day good choices to be clean.
Addiction isn’t like a cancer diagnosis — it’s a disease that’s an off-balance of the body, teetering slightly from time to time, not readable through scans and blood tests as “present” or “in remission”. Addiction is only identifiable through actions and words. This makes the disease a difficult one to identify, prevent and treat. The first step to getting on the road to recovery is identifying there is a problem. Families and friends are often the first to see drug or alcohol use is negatively affecting their loved one. Getting your loved one to admit there is a problem and accept professional help is essential to lifelong recovery. While you can’t expect your loved one to be cured and never use again, you can hope for a better life in sobriety. Get your loved one help now.

Myth: "Addiction mostly affects certain types of people"

Fact: Addiction does not discriminate. It can affect anyone. No matter your age or income, ethnicity or religion, family or profession. Nationally, about one in eight people ages 12 and up are impacted

Myth: "If someone has a stable job and family life, they can’t be suffering from addiction."

Fact: Many people live in denial because they’re successful in their professional lives, or because they don’t drink until after 5 p.m. or because they come from a “good” home. The reality is that anyone can be vulnerable to addiction. Many people hide the severity of their use or don’t get help because of stigma and shame. If drinking or using drugs is causing any kind of conflict or problem in your personal or professional life, it’s worth seeking support.

Myth: "People have to hit “rock bottom” before they can get well."

Fact: This simply isn’t true, and it’s dangerous. The longer you wait, the sicker the person gets, and this can have deadly consequences. Studies show that people forced into treatment have an equal chance of success as people who decide to go on their own. Also, people who get help before addiction is severe have more resources to draw upon, such as supportive family or a job, to help them successfully recover. So the sooner someone gets help, the better.

Myth: "If someone relapses, they’re a lost cause."

Fact: Try not to be too discouraged by a relapse, which is a recurrence of symptoms. Addiction is a chronic illness very similar to type II diabetes or hypertension, meaning it requires lifelong management. Relapse is no more likely with addiction than it is for these other chronic illnesses. Getting well involves changing deeply embedded behaviors. This takes time and effort and sometimes results in setbacks. This doesn’t mean previous treatments failed, because the person with addiction still made progress overall in getting well. A recurrence may be a sign that the treatment approach or other supports need to change, or that other treatment methods are needed. There is hope. Keep in mind that most people with addiction who experience a recurrence will return to recovery.

Myth: "People with addiction are bad and need to be punished."

Fact: Sometimes, after prolonged substance use, people with addiction do horrible things. These bad acts are often impossible to understand. They're due to profound changes in the brain that compel them to lie, cheat, steal or worse in order to keep using. While this behavior can’t be condoned, it’s important to understand they do it because they are deeply sick and need help. Sick people need treatment, not punishment, to get well.

Myth: "Addiction is treated behaviorally so it must be a behavioral problem, not a disease."

Fact: Human behavior begins in the brain. Advanced brain studies show that different types of treatments, such as psychotherapy and medication, can change brain function. This is true for depression and other illnesses, including addiction. Sometimes behavioral treatments, like counseling, are enough. Sometimes medication may be required as well. But the fact that behavioral treatments can be effective does not mean addiction isn’t a real illness.

Myth: "Legal Drugs are not Dangerous."

Fact: Of all the drug myths, this one can be the most dangerous. It’s easy to understand why someone taking a prescription drug feels a sense of security. After all, it is a legal drug prescribed by a doctor. Legal drugs, however, can be incredibly dangerous. Prescribed drugs contribute to the majority of overdoses and addictions. Taking a potentially addictive drug, strictly how it’s prescribed, requires self-discipline and education. Misusing medication is an act of substance abuse.
Legal artificial drugs are also dangerous. Synthetic and manmade drugs are more potent when altered from original recipes. They are also loopholes in the drug trade. Legality doesn’t coincide with potential danger.
Addiction to prescription medications, including painkillers, sedatives and stimulants, is a serious and growing problem among all age groups. These drugs can be highly addictive and have serious harmful effects. Even if these drugs are prescribed by your physician, you may be at risk.

Myth: "Addiction is a matter of choice"

Fact: This is a myth born from an ongoing debate called The Addiction Paradox: Is addiction a choice or a disease?
The choice to use a drug differs from the driving force causing one to need it. Whether this driving force is biological or behavioral, both can puppeteer the body with merciless cravings. If addiction were purely behavioral, it could be cured with a pill that eliminates the desired effects of substances. These pills exist. One example is Antabuse (Disulfiram), a pill that makes you sick when drinking alcohol.
The problem is that the human brain is too intelligent to be tricked. You cannot forget the reward of drinking and drugs once created. The medication doesn’t suffice the urge to chase a remembered, great feeling. The reward is tied closer to memory than regret.
Doing or not doing a drug is your choice, but it’s a hard one you may lose power over, especially when your body and mind are addicted to the substance. Addiction is a disease. Just as you can’t choose to not have cancer, you cannot choose to not suffer from addiction.
What you can choose, however, is to get the help you need to overcome your addiction. You can also choose to be committed to sobriety. Together, these two choices can help you achieve lifelong sobriety.

Myth: "Addiction is not Biological"

Fact: While we do not know the exact cause of addiction, we do know there are genetic markers that point to one’s susceptibility to becoming addicted. There are biological reasons why one struggles with drugs and alcohol, just as there are environmental factors.
Substance abuse often stems from mental health illness. Mental health illness is a product of insufficient neurotransmitters in the brain, which can be a reaction to one’s environment or self, or it can have genetic roots.
Many studies done on animals show that addiction is a disease. Animals don’t have a conscience, but they can still depend on drugs, as proven in experiments. Babies, without the ability to choose, are also born addicted to substances if the mother uses while pregnant.
Withdrawal is doubtless proof of the difference between a drug being a pleasurable want and a need to survive. After prolonged use, withdrawal can be highly painful and in some cases even deadly.

Myth: "Recovery is Religious"

Fact: Recovery encourages everyone to seek out a higher power: something or someone you relinquish control over to for those things that you cannot change. This higher power can be what makes the sun rise and set, or it can be Positive Energy / God.
The recovery process can be a spiritual one, while not being tied to any one religion. God shouldn’t be a word that turns you off from AA or recovery, but a symbolic one, representing whatever you believe will pave the way to your success. Believing in something bigger than yourself is thinking bigger, and superior forces are out there. Have faith in that.

Myth: "Addiction Can Be Tamed With Moderate Use"

Fact: If you’re someone who eagerly seeks out substances to alter your mood or for an emotional outlet, chances are moderate use is not achievable. By trying to use moderately, you put yourself at risk for abuse and its many negative effects on your health and overall well being.
Instant gratification is the root of impulse. Delayed gratification is happiness sturdily built on a foundation. Every time you opt for the instant fix, you are missing out on building that foundation.
When a problem has been defined as a problem, the source should be removed — unless it is a life necessity such as food or sex. By using less, you are still using and depending on a substance with potentially dangerous effects. The longer you use drugs or alcohol, the less good they feel and the more they take a toll on your health. With time, you will have to take more to feel better, and moderate use becomes impossible. Just as we get hungry for food, the addicted get hungry to use.
The difference is we must eat to survive and we use to only die. If deciding to be sober, why not be sober? Own the title. Drugs or alcohol are not life necessities. No one needs them, no matter how much you may feel gut-wrenching cravings. Furthermore, if prescribed medication, be wary of how you use it. Mixing prescribed drugs with other substances, especially alcohol, can be a lethal cocktail and an ultimate depressant.

Myth: "Addicts can just stop when they want"

Fact: The urge to use can come from an unrealized trigger, a traumatic experience or a perpetual mental health illness. Some drugs, such as crack, can be addicting from first use. Quitting is not based on willpower alone.
People struggling with addiction often deny the severity of the problem, saying they will stop when they want. However, the power of addiction makes users not ever want to quit. If they do get to the point where they accept change is needed, they often don’t have the ability to stop using without professional treatment.

Myth: "You can/can't Quit on your own"

Fact: Neither of these drug myths is true. Based on the individual’s situation, both can be possible or impossible.
In general, however, for most people, support is necessary. The support of those going through the same burdening dilemma can be a secret weapon in recovery.
AA is an effective treatment program that works if you stay committed to it. It is extremely difficult to escape the reality of your addiction by only being around people who aren’t addicts. Only addicts can really understand the process and do the steps of the program with you. Other addicts feel the same urges that you do and have faced having to cope with them, but only you know what it’s like to be in your particular shoes.
It’s not recommended to fight a war with a one-person army, but if the one fighter is a super destructive gladiator, then it’s possible. This means change comes from within you — real change is your doing, and you need to have a very strong core to swing it alone. Your road to recovery, however, will be easier to travel when you don’t have to go it alone.

Myth: "Marijuana isn't physically addicting "

Fact: Anything that instills the feeling of reward can be addicting. Marijuana reworks brain chemistry just like any other drug and just like anything affecting the reward pathway of the brain. Addiction is when it’s hard to function without using, and many people have suffered from this while using marijuana.


Fact: A prevalent addiction rehab myth is that all programs are the same. Rehabs vary by the type of treatments they offer to the length of stay of their programs. Different rehab programs also offer different amenities. When choosing your rehab, make sure that they offers customized treatment programs. Just as no two people are alike, no two recoveries are the same. The path you took to addiction is a unique one. So too is the path you will take to lifelong recovery.

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