Lifeline Connections

Breaking Down Myths about Substance Abuse Treatment

This week, we look at some common misconceptions about substance abuse treatment. Read on for the truth about how these programs work.

Myth: All treatment centers are the same.

Fact: There are many different types of substance abuse treatment centers, and several different kinds of therapy. Treatment should always be tailored to an individual’s particular needs. There is no “one-size fits all” when it comes to substance abuse treatment, so you should receive the treatment that works for you. Quality treatment centers have teams that include doctors, therapists, and other professional staff members who will work with you to develop a plan that fits your needs. Research different facilities before committing to one, and make sure you find one that will take your needs into account.

Myth: Someone has to voluntarily enter treatment for it to work.

Fact: Success rates are often higher for those who voluntarily enter treatment because they have internal motivation to help them get the most out of the program. However, many substance users often succeed in getting clean after being brought to a treatment unwillingly, because of legal requirements or an intervention. Often those dealing with addiction need to be encouraged by those around them to seek treatment. Once in a substance abuse treatment program, their eyes may be opened to how damaging their substance use has become.

Myth: Treatment is not needed because people can stop using drugs if they really want to.

Fact: It is true that treatment can be more effective if the patient really wants to quit, but unfortunately the choice to leave an addiction behind is not always as simple as we might hope. Research has shown that a person’s brain chemistry changes with long-term substance abuse. This can make it difficult or even impossible for a person to simply quit. Persons who are addicted to drugs or alcohol may be able to quit for short periods of time. However, it is extremely difficult to keep that up on a permanent basis. Long-term abstinence is usually only achieved with a substance abuse treatment program.

Myth: If I undergo treatment, I will lose my job.

Fact: This is certainly not always the case. Many employers have programs in place that allow for employees struggling with substance abuse to get the help they need. Before you turn down treatment out of fear of losing your job, contact your HR department and find out their policies concerning substance abuse treatment. In addition, depending on the severity of your addiction, many treatment plans can schedule around your work schedule, making it easier to keep your job.

Myth: Treatment only works after someone has hit “rock-bottom.”

Fact: Not everyone needs hit their lowest point before entering a substance abuse treatment program. In fact, treatment can often be most effective in early stages of addiction, before the substance use has become too deeply rooted in habit. You definitely should not wait till something catastrophic like losing your job or family has happened before admitting you need help. The earlier you choose to seek help, the faster you can be back to normal, healthy life.

Myth: If I need treatment, I will have to stop “cold-turkey.”

Fact: Each case will be evaluated on an individual basis. If you are worried about the negative effects of withdrawal, there is likely no need for concern. While the focus of treatment is on stopping the use of substances, care providers want you to be comfortable and safe during the process. Withdrawal will not be a walk in the park, but providers can help manage your withdrawal symptoms and minimize the negative effects.

Myth: Treatment is a waste of money and time.

Fact: Not only is treatment clinically shown to hugely increase the rate of cessation of substance use, but it is beneficial in other ways. While in treatment, individuals can work on quitting other addictive behaviors. Research has shown that treatment reduces criminal behavior and thinking, reduces the risk of infectious diseases, and improves overall well-being and happiness and chances for employment.

Are you looking for more information about substance abuse treatment? Or you ready to talk to a treatment specialist in the Portland, OR area? Please contact Lifeline Connections at 360-397-8246 ext 7580. We are here to help!

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