Debunking 10 Myths About Substance Use Disorder Treatment
Wed, 02 Feb 2022 07:11:41 +0000
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Myths have helped us to understand the world around us. They’ve lead to a sense of order in a seemingly random world, and established a belief in cause and effect that lies at the root of education and enlightenment. But myths can also foster misinformation and superstition that get in the way of mental, emotional, and spiritual progress. A perfect example of this is the wealth of myths that surround addiction, recovery, and treatment. We’ve taken the prevalent falsehoods and rumors about getting sober through treatment and exploded them to reveal the core truth behind these beliefs.
1. I have to hit rock bottom before I go into treatment.
The concept of “rock bottom” – a breaking point so grievous that an individual must either affect change in their lives or risk permanent incapacitation – is relative: one’s idea of their lowest point is different than others, and may not even approach life-or-death scenarios. Waiting for that moment to begin recovery is not only unnecessary but also dangerous, since descending further into addiction can mean greater risk for physical harm (overdose) and mental trauma (loss of family, personal freedom). Recovery can and should begin when an individual feels that their addictions have changed their lives for the worse and wants a new direction.
2. Relapse means that treatment didn’t work
Relapse is a common occurrence during the first stages of recovery, but it doesn’t mean that the treatment wasn’t effective. Recovery depends on a number of factors which include treatment as well as an aftercare plan, which may include therapy, a 12-step program, outpatient programs, or sober living situations. The individual in recovery must also apply the tools learned during treatment, such as reconfirming or rearranging their relationships, and adopting a healthier lifestyle. Recovery can also require new or additional forms of treatment that were not applied during the initial treatment phase. Above all, relapse does not mean failure; it’s a new opportunity for the individual to continue an active role in regaining their lives and making positive changes.
3. Relapse means that you can’t get sober
Thinking that a relapse means that the treatment didn’t work goes hand in hand with another myth: that a relapse also translates into the cold, hard fact that an individual simply can’t achieve sobriety under any circumstances. This is, of course, a total fallacy: sobriety takes work, determination, and the willingness to make changes to one’s life, but it can be attained. A relapse may put a roadblock in the path to lasting sobriety, but it doesn’t mean that the path is inaccessible or shouldn’t be attempted. More damaging to sobriety is the individual’s own thinking. Character defects like self-pity and outsized expectations, deluded ideas like moderated used of addictive substances, and refusal to accept help can undo sobriety faster and longer than any relapse.
4. I can’t afford treatment
For many individuals seeking assistance with addiction issues, the cost of inpatient or residential treatment is one of the key factors that keep them from seeking out professional help. The truth of the matter is that most facilities accept insurance and medical plans; many facilities accept all forms of insurance, as well as Medicare, Medi-Cal, and Los Angeles County’s My Health LA or other city-based programs. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) also includes services for substance abuse to eligible adults in health insurance plans sold via health insurance exchanges or Medicaid, while the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers many treatment options for former military personnel with substance abuse and addiction issues.
5. Treatment is all based on religion
Religion or spirituality is an aspect of some forms of treatment, but not every treatment modality requires an adherence to religious principles or a belief in God. Many individuals considering treatment that express concern over this element are conflating all treatment with 12-step programs, in which God is frequently mentioned. However, it’s important to note that most 12-step programs encourage a belief in a higher power – the definition of which is left to the individual, and not necessarily to any understanding of God connected to organized religion.If the “higher power” aspect is too close to religion for some, there are many other forms of treatment. For example, All In Solutions offers 12-step as just one part of its approach to treatment. The facility also includes evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EDMR), in addition to one-on-one meetings with a certified drug counselor and personal therapist.
6. I’m too old to get treatment
According to statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on the age of patient admission into recovery programs, more than half (55.8 percent) were between the ages of 31 and 50. Individuals ages 51 to 66 made up 13.6 percent of program admissions, while pre-teens, teenagers, and young adults between the ages of 12 and 30 comprised 43.5% of people admitted to program. People from all age groups, from all walks of life, and from all economic backgrounds get treatment. If age is a factor for attending treatment, there are many age-specific rehab scenarios available to the general public.
7. My addiction will go public
For those entering treatment, the idea that everyone around them will suddenly know about their addiction is an unsettling thought. It is, however, just a fear, and not a reality. What (and to whom) an addict reveals about their condition remains entirely up to them. Privacy about health conditions is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and enforced by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights. It requires health providers – including treatment centers – to protect patients’ health information in any form. Only the individual and their health care providers will have information about their condition.
8. I’ll lose my job if I go into treatment
As with the previous myth, there is no credence to the idea that entering treatment, whether inpatient or outpatient, will result in the loss of your livelihood. Both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protect those wishing to go into treatment from discrimination and loss of a job. ADA specifically prevents dismissal from a job for addiction or treatment; FMLA allows qualified employees to take 12 weeks of medical leave for issues including substance abuse disorders. The leave is typically unpaid, but individuals can apply for disability benefits until the end of treatment. Many companies also have Employee Assistance Programs to provide assistance to employees, including treatment for addiction.
9. I don’t need treatment, just detox
Detox is a medical process that helps to remove the addictive substances from the individual’s body. It does not, however, remove the mental and emotional aspects of addiction – physical cravings, triggers, character defects and past traumas that lead to substance use and addiction, or the various discomforts that comes with withdrawal. Treatment provides patients with new ways of coping with those feelings and strategies to substitute addictive behavior with healthier activities and aspirations. When detox is combined with a treatment program that includes residential treatment and aftercare, those lingering problems become manageable and a new way of life can be achieved.
10. No one in treatment will understand how I feel
Alienation, low self-esteem and loneliness all go hand in hand with addictive behavior. Feeling like one doesn’t fit in anywhere can motivate people to numb that pain with addictive substances. It can also convince people seeking treatment that their problems are wholly unique, and that no one in rehab – fellow patients and health care providers alike – will fully understand the scope of their feelings. However, if one is willing to risk feelings of vulnerability and open up to others about their problems, they may find that many people in treatment have traveled a path very similar to theirs, one that has led them to find help.
All In Solutions Counseling Center is a substance abuse treatment network. We provide outpatient and inpatient addiction treatment programs that are tailored to meet each client’s needs. Our specialized programs include:
- Christian rehab
- Medication assisted opiate treatment
- Art addiction therapy
- Men’s rehab
- Women’s rehab
Our locations include:
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