When you hear the word addiction, what is the first thought that comes to mind?  Did you visualize a dirty, homeless person lying in the alleyway?  Or, did you imagine a sleazy drug dealer selling deadly illicit substances on the streets?  Well, you’re partially right,  But, addiction is more widespread than you realize.  Hopefully, the following FAQs about addiction will help clarify the seriousness of the problem.

Let Go of Preconceived Ideas or Stigma About Addiction

Sadly, unless addiction affects someone we know, we don’t spend much time thinking about it.  However, it’s possible one of your friends or family members is struggling with addiction and has been able to hide it, so far.  So, our preconceived beliefs or stigma about what addiction looks like or who is addicted are flawed.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine’s definition of addiction is:

“Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences. 

Prevention efforts and treatment approaches for addiction are generally as successful as those for other chronic diseases.”

To help you gain a realistic understanding of the substance abuse crisis, here are the answers to some of the FAQs about addiction:

#1.  Why don’t they just stop using?

In the beginning, drug use is experimental.  The individual wants to try it just once to see what it’s like.  They don’t intend to become addicted.  But, in most cases, they like it and want more.  Once the drug takes control of their brain and body, the cravings are too intense to ignore.  So, the person seeks more of the drug for relief from the withdrawals.

Far too many drug users think they can quit when they’re ready.  With this state of denial is present, they fail to seek treatment and their condition gets worse.  They no longer have conscious control over their drug use and need professional help to overcome the addiction.

#2.  Prescription drugs are safe, right?

This is one of the most FAQs about addiction.  Surprisingly, most people think prescription drugs are safe because they’re approved and prescribed by a physician.  In truth, prescription opioids caused more than 17,000 fatal opioid overdoses in one year, according to NIDA.

Another interesting fact about prescription drugs is that some people develop a dependency or addiction even when taking them as prescribed.  Those who can’t afford high-priced legal drugs will often switch to street drugs such as heroin.

Furthermore, many teens gain access to their parent’s or grandparents’ prescription drugs to get high and become addicted.  Many of the teens suffer fatal overdoses.

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#3.  Is detox a cure for addiction?

This common misconception is another of the FAQs about addiction that can cause needless deaths.  The fact is, detox only addresses the physical aspect of addiction.  It cleanses the body from the residual toxins of addictive substances.  However, unless the mental and emotional aspects of addiction are addressed, relapse is not unusual.

People experiment with drugs for a variety of reasons.  Most of those reasons include low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and trauma.  These issues must be professionally treated to ensure lasting recovery.

#4.  Are all rehabs the same?

The answer is no, all rehabs are not the same.  Each program differs in its philosophies and approaches to treatment.  Some facilities focus on a specific addiction while others can treat poly-drug addictions and co-occurring disorders.

Addiction treatment programs may also offer considerations for gender, age, economic status, religious preferences, sexual orientation, and more.  Today’s programs are significant improvements from the cold, clinical approaches of the past.

#5.  Does relapse mean the treatment program failed?

Relapse is not an indication that the individual or the program failed in achieving recovery.  In fact, it’s not possible to set a specific date for recovery, it’s an ongoing process.  With that in mind, relapse means more treatment or a different approach may help.

The important thing to remember about relapse is that you must take steps right away to prevent further occurrences.  Get back into rehab and establish a strong support system.  Make any changes necessary to protect your hard-earned sobriety.

New Beginnings Can Help You Achieve Lasting Recovery

If you’re struggling with substance use or abuse, become familiar with the above FAQs about addiction.  By doing so, you’ll have a better understanding of the truth about treatment and why you need it.  When you’re ready to get help, contact us today to learn about our unique and effective treatment modalities.

Sources:

https://www.asam.org/Quality-Science/definition-of-addiction – Definition of Addiction