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Most Common Misconceptions about Addiction

by Cristina Villalon

Most Common Misconceptions about Addiction

Although we know more about addiction than ever before, there are still many misconceptions about substance use disorder that are quite commonplace, even among well-meaning people. Despite the massive increase in addiction science research and innovation, many still have a hard time letting go of fallacies that can pose issues for people looking to treat their substance use disorder. Many of these outdated views on addiction also continue to push the stigma on those who are sick and need help with their chronic condition.

Addiction is a Choice, and People can Will Themselves to Quit

The “addiction disease or choice debate” is a common one that many people have been exposed to as early as grade school debate class. However, the facts are no longer up for debate. While the choice to misuse substances initially is a person’s choice, addiction becomes a disease once substance use disorder sets in and takes over. No one with a chronic illness chooses to be sick, and most people with substance use disorder need the help of medical professionals who specialize in addiction to recovery successfully with the use of counseling and medication.

People with SUD Aren’t Productive Members of Society

Those who have never known anyone with substance use disorder usually have a very stereotypical view of those faced with addiction. These caricatures are often seen on television and in films of someone who can barely function and spends their days committing crimes and using. While there are people who have reached a “rock bottom” state who can no longer work or perform necessary daily tasks, many more people work jobs, provide for their families, and even have thriving social lives. They suffer in silence and find it very difficult to open up about their addiction, preventing them from getting the treatment they need.

Medication-Assisted Treatment Replaces One Drug with Another

People suffering from opioid use disorder, for example, will often enroll in treatment that utilizes FDA-approved medications that have been backed by research and evidence of being successful in helping patients achieve recovery. Many people have a common misconception that those looking to overcome addiction must cease “cold turkey” and maintain their sobriety using a “white-knuckling” method or willing themselves to not relapse. These medications are not replacements for the previously misused substances; in fact, they’re formulated in such a way that can help patients avoid ever using them again by easing the painful experience of withdrawal.

While many other misconceptions are widely repeated among those who are not well-read on the topic, or those who have never had experiences with addiction themselves, it’s never been easier to become educated on the subject. The internet has provided us with a world of knowledge at our fingertips, and dozens of peer-reviewed medical journals on addiction science, as well as easier-to-read and understand publications that break down the science into laymen’s terms.

Where to Start Treatment for Opioid Addiction

If you know someone who struggles with opioid addiction, whether it’s prescription pain pills or heroin, HealthCare Resource Centers can help. We offer medication-assisted treatment combined with counseling and other services to those fighting to break free from opioid use disorder. If you’re preparing to speak to your loved one about their addiction, contact us today to find out about our treatment options.

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