Five Common Addiction Myths

Serenity Vista Examines Common Addiction Myths


Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word addiction as a “strong and harmful need to regularly have something, or to do something.” While the definition clearly describes the terminology, it a far cry from what those who suffer from addiction actually go through. Those who have experienced the pain of addiction, either personally or with someone we love, know all too well that the illness of addiction is real, and there are many who do not have a full understanding of what it is, and what it is not. Addiction Myths can be harmful – even fatal.

Addiction Myths and misconceptions about addictions are rampant, and the Internet is chalk-full of senseless theories regarding the realities of addiction. That is why we chose five of the most common addiction myths regarding addiction and rehabilitation, and debunk them.

1. “Addiction is merely a choice”

When someone first begins to use drugs or alcohol, this is the only choice. However, the simple act of using, over time, changes the brain and body chemistry. When the line is crossed into true addiction, the drinker or user feels as if they no longer have that choice. Addiction medicine specialist Dr. David Sack notes in Psychology Today that genetics plays a key role in addiction, making up nearly “half of the risk factors,” while noting that “family history and environmental factors make makes ups up the other half,” adding that prolonged usage “makes controlling impulse very difficult.”

2. “Addicts are bad people with problems

Actually, quite the opposite. Sufferers of addiction are more often to be “good” people in “bad” situations. A real understanding of the nature of addiction would reveal that addicts come from all walks of life – doctors, soldiers, our mothers, brothers, and many more who battle dependency issues daily. While changes in the brain can make many addicts do “bad” things, such as stealing or lying, these people need our help, not our judgments and persecution. Again, family history plays a key role in addiction susceptibility. It is the “good” in those who choose to seek addiction treatment options for the betterment of themselves and their loved ones.

3. “Addiction treatment usually leads to relapse”

Overcoming addiction is oftentimes a long and arduous process. It is possible, with good treatment and a solid program of recovery, to stay clean and sober, for the rest of your life, one day at a time. In some cases, adherence to recovery practices wane and relapse happens. Left unchecked or untreated, that is the nature of the disease. But relapse is far from the end, and many experts on substance abuse agree that a relapse can be seen as a warning signal to get back on the right path of recovery. This means establishing new goals, continuing with addiction treatment, and making any necessary adjustments along the way. For some, it might mean additional primary addiction treatment to deal with deeper core issues.

Many sufferers of addiction curse themselves from the beginning with the notion that they will again use, thus becoming a self-fulling prophesy. In substance abuse treatment, alcoholics and addicts learn how to respond to the body’s inevitable desire for a relapse with positive reinforcement, learned behavior modifications, and the support of twelve step self help fellowships and programs of recovery.

4. “Addiction to prescription medication is different than addiction to illicit drugs and alcohol”

Although the general public may view “prescribed medications” as being much different than their “illicit” counterparts such as heroin, there is no viable difference in terms of addiction. These drugs are effective in the short-term. But over a prolonged period, many prescribed drugs such as the opiates, benzodiazepines and other central nervous system depressants can actually diminish the serotonin levels in users, creating a higher tolerance to the drug and lower pain threshold for the user, which often leads to increased usage. Addiction treatment centers have seen a surge in clients seeking help from the trap of prescription drug addiction, sometimes requiring drug detox. It is as common for people to go to addiction treatment rehab for addiction to prescribed medications as alcohol or other drugs. Learning alternative and holistic ways of dealing with health issues without harmful prescription drugs, sufferers often begin to feel like they’re living again.

5. “There should be a one-size-fits all approach to addiction treatment”

Everyone is unique in how they respond to addiction treatment. While there are many individuals who seek treatment that prefer one-on-one addiction counseling, there are others who thrive in a group setting. What might work for a sufferer of alcoholism may not work as well for a cocaine abuser. This is why many substance abuse treatment programs offer a full-range of services to treat the illness of addiction, and most importantly, the patient or client.

Shattering the Stigmas of Addiction

The biggest addiction myth is the self-destructive thinking that you cannot get better, because you can. The key to addiction treatment is finding a solution based program with a strong focus on whole life perspective. Many ponder when it is the time to go to rehab. It’s important to focus on what is working as opposed to what is not. At Serenity Vista in beautiful Panama, you will have access to a full range of addiction treatment options in a soft and inviting Caribbean setting. Choosing the right rehab for you is an important decision. Serenity Vista’s group of professionals can guide you through the healing process, helping to shake away the many awful myths of addiction, while developing and nurturing new life skills.


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