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People During Workshop

7 Myths of Drug Addiction

MYTH #1: Drug addiction is voluntary behavior. 

FACT: A person starts out as an occasional drug user, and that is a voluntary decision. But as time passes,

something happens, and that person goes from being a voluntary drug user to being a compulsive drug

user. Why? Because over time, continued use of addictive drugs changes your brain -- at times in dramatic,

toxic ways.

MYTH 2: Addiction is a disease; there’s nothing you can do about it.

FACT: Most experts agree that addiction is a brain disease, but that doesn’t mean you’re a helpless victim.

The brain changes associated with addiction can be treated and reversed through therapy, medication,

exercise, and other treatments.

MYTH 3: Addicts have to hit rock bottom before they can get better.

FACT: Recovery can begin at any point in the addiction process—and the earlier, the better. The longer drug

abuse continues, the stronger the addiction becomes, and the harder it is to treat. Don’t wait to intervene until

the addict has lost it all.

MYTH 4: You can’t force someone into treatment. They have to want help.

FACT: Treatment doesn’t have to be voluntary to be successful. People who are pressured into treatment by their

familyemployer, or the legal system are just as likely to benefit as those who choose to enter treatment on their

own. As they sober up and their thinking clears, many formerly resistant addicts decide they want to change.


MYTH 5: Treatment didn’t work before, so there’s no point in trying again. Some cases are hopeless. 

FACT: Recovery from drug addiction is a long process that often involves setbacks. Relapse doesn’t mean that

treatment has failed or that they're a lost cause. Rather, it’s a signal to get back on track, either by going back

to treatment or adjusting the treatment approach.

MYTH #6: If you've tried one doctor or treatment program, you've tried them all.

FACT: Not every doctor or program may be the right fit for someone seeking treatment. For many, finding an

approach that is personally effective for treating their addiction can mean trying out several different doctors

and/or treatment programs before a good match is found between patient and program.

MYTH #7: People who continue to abuse drugs after treatment are hopeless.

FACT: Drug addiction is a chronic disorder and occasional relapse does not mean failure. Psychological stress

from work or family problems, social cues (i.e. meeting individuals from one's drug-using past), or their environment

(i.e. encountering streets, objects, or even smells associated with drug use) can easily trigger a relapse. Addicts are

most vulnerable to drug use during the few months immediately following their release from treatment. Children are

especially at risk for relapse when forced to return to family and environmental situations that initially led them to abuse substances.

Group Discussion
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