With over 27 million people over the age of 12 who use illicit drugs, and 60.9 million who are considered alcohol abusers, and 16.3 million who are considered heavy drinkers, we have a problem in society today.  According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, only about 1.6 percent of people who need treatment for addiction seek help. What keeps these individuals from getting the professional help they need to overcome their addictions?  Part of the problem is that so many of these people believe the myths about rehab and insist that rehab doesn’t work.  We must do whatever we can to debunk these myths and remove the skepticism so more lives can be saved.

Myths About Rehab That Should Be Ignored

Some of the myths about rehab arise out of people’s insecurities and fears.  Others arise from lack of knowledge about the success rates of addiction treatment programs.  Also, many people consider a relapse as a failure on the part of the rehab program. We will try to dispel some of these myths and provide facts that support the truth that rehab does work.  

Here are 8 of the most common myths about rehab:

  • Myth:  “Treatment isn’t necessary.  Addicts can stop doing drugs if they really want to.”

Fact:  Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain as defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.  Treatment programs help addicts recondition their mental, physical, and emotional health to live a drug-free life.  This is achieved with a comprehensive program that teaches the skills and provides the tools necessary for avoiding triggers and preventing relapse.

  • Myth:  A person can’t be forced into treatment.  Rehab wouldn’t be effective if the person didn’t choose to go themselves.”

Fact:  Most addicts don’t want to enter treatment because they are afraid of withdrawals or they don’t believe rehab works.  But, many people have been forced by court mandate to begin treatment. Others have entered treatment after an intervention by loved ones.  Most addicts need some little “push” to convince them to enter a rehab program.

  • Myth:  “You don’t need treatment until you have hit rock bottom.  They have to lose everything before they can change their ways.”

Fact:  Everyone’s “rock bottom” is different.  Some addicts can recognize the impact of their addiction on their life and their family’s lives.  Waiting until you hit rock bottom might result in death from overdose. Many people want help but don’t know how to go about getting into the right program, and often put it off too long.    

  • Myth:  “All addiction treatment programs are the same.  They use the same methods and are cold and uncaring.”

Fact:  Many types of programs are available to help addicts find the right treatment for their needs.  Options such as holistic, faith-based, traditional, and Native American Indigenous programs are offered.  A person can also choose a residential, PHP, or IOP program. Depending on the severity of the addiction, an addict can choose an inpatient or outpatient program.

  • Myth:  “People who have to go back to rehab aren’t trying their best to stay clean. They’re just wasting time and money.”

Fact:  Relapses happen.  It doesn’t mean the program didn’t work.  And it doesn’t mean the person isn’t trying hard.  It means they need additional care. Maybe they left the program too soon or chose the wrong one for their needs.  The point is, they keep trying, so they need to get all the support they need.

  • Myth:  “Treatment is a cure for addiction.  If it’s not, then what’s the point of going?”

Fact:  There is no cure for addiction.  A person can learn to live without drugs or alcohol, but it is a lifelong journey that has no end.  Each day will bring challenges. This is why an aftercare program is vital to a recovering addicts successful abstinence.  An aftercare program provides continuing support, guidance, and encouragement when things become difficult.

  • Myth:  “People who keep relapsing are hopeless. They are weak and are choosing to be addicts.”

Fact:  When a recovering addict relapses, they are in danger of suffering an overdose because their body has a lowered tolerance after being in treatment.  This is why it is important for them to go back into treatment after a relapse rather than try to tough it out. Many people have gone through rehab several times before they succeeded in staying clean.  

  • Myth:  “If people keep relapsing, it means treatment obviously doesn’t work or is flawed.”

Fact:  This is probably the most dangerous of the myths about rehab.  When a person relapses, the treatment provider needs to look at what caused the relapse.  What were the triggers? It can be a learning tool to help the facility customize a treatment plan that is best suited for this individual. Each person is different, so sometimes it takes a few tries to figure out exactly what is needed to address their specific needs.

Finding the Right Rehab for You or a Loved One

Learn more about the myths about rehab by contacting us today.  We can answer your questions or help you or your loved one get the treatment you need.  Our team of experts can help you choose the right rehab for your situation.

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