Don’t Fall for These 5 Myths About Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Misinformation about substance use disorders and addiction treatment options can prevent those who are struggling from accessing the help they need to build a brighter future. In this post, we debunk some of the most common myths we encounter when working with clients at our South Carolina drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility.

Myth #1: Addiction Is a Choice

Substance use disorders are chronic illnesses with both biological risk factors and environmental triggers. They are often progressive conditions that develop slowly, so it’s not always easy to see the moment when the casual use of a substance starts to turn into a serious problem. In fact, many people in need of treatment are functional addicts who are inwardly struggling but outwardly manage to project the illusion of normalcy.

Just as a person doesn’t choose to have cancer, nobody is making the choice to suffer from a substance use disorder. Why would anyone choose to have a condition that can lead to a loss of connection with loved ones, career setbacks, financial struggles, legal troubles, and lasting negative health consequences? When a person is struggling with an active addiction, they’re trapped in a cycle they need help to break. They deserve compassion and access to evidence-based treatment options—not shame or judgment.

Myth #2: Rehab Is Too Expensive

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), substance use disorders are no longer considered pre-existing conditions, and plans must offer substance abuse treatment coverage to the same extent they cover other types of other medical conditions. Need-based credits are available to make purchasing coverage more affordable for those who do not have employer-provided insurance.

Waypoint Recovery Center is in-network with BlueCross/BlueShield and UBH (outpatient only). We also work closely with most insurance carriers and have an online insurance verification form that will allow you to see your coverage before beginning treatment. Private pay and financing options are also available for those who are currently uninsured.

When you’re thinking about whether rehab is affordable, the cost of getting treatment must be balanced against the cost of allowing a substance use disorder to progress. It’s not uncommon for people to drain their savings, sell their most valuable possessions, and file for bankruptcy due to the amount of money they’ve spent to feed their addiction. Treating addiction-related medical problems or providing emergency care after an overdose can also result in a heavy financial burden. The short-term cost of rehab should be thought of as a long-term investment in your future.

Myth #3: Medication-Assisted Treatment Is Just Substituting One Addiction for Another

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine for the treatment of alcohol use disorders, opioid addiction, and addiction to benzodiazepines. The medications used in this approach to addiction treatment help reduce cravings and normalize brain chemistry. They are used with counseling and other treatment options to promote a lasting recovery.

At Waypoint Recovery Center, we firmly believe in the value of MAT for those who meet the appropriate treatment criteria. We provide this option for clients in our inpatient treatment program and work closely with community partners who can offer these services for clients who are receiving outpatient care.

Myth #4: Staying Sober Is All About Willpower

This myth is closely related to the misconception that addiction is a choice. People with this view often believe that a person continues to abuse drugs or alcohol because they lack the willpower to just say no. They’re ignoring the role that factors such as trauma, chronic pain, a lack of a strong support network, and co-occurring mental health disorders can play in pushing a person towards substance abuse as a coping mechanism for day-to-day struggles.

That being said, willpower does have some relevance to a person’s recovery effort. Establishing the foundation for a lasting recovery requires making hundreds of choices each day to promote a wellness-focused lifestyle. For example, a person uses willpower when they choose healthy snacks over sugary sweets, exercise instead of watching TV, and control their temper instead of lashing out when someone upsets them. Addiction treatment encourages people to build their willpower reserves to promote the resiliency that is essential for continued sobriety.

Myth #5: Some People Aren’t Cut Out for Recovery

All chronic illnesses are characterized by periods of relapse and remission, so a relapse after an extended period of sobriety doesn’t mean that a person isn’t committed to getting sober or that treatment won’t work for them. It simply means that their current addiction treatment plan needs to be reevaluated and that adjustments must be made to better fit their unique needs.

There Is Hope

There’s always hope for recovery—no matter what struggles a person has had in the past. 

Credited to: waypoint recovery

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