What you should know about addiction: Addiction Facts and Myths

Did you know that an average person has a 1 in 67 chance of dying from opioid abuse in the U.S? This means that more people die from addiction than from a motor vehicle accident. Addiction is a pressing issue worldwide. The stigma associated with substance abuse in our society has added fuel to the fire. 9 out of 10 addicts will not go for treatment due to social embarrassment. All in all, there is a lack of awareness. With so much information all around, even the educated lot gets confused. This post contains everything you need to know about addiction along with the facts and myths. Addiction should not be taken lightly. It is a disease and like any other disease, it should be treated. So you can get yourself or a loved one out of this Without further ado, let’s get started.  


Addiction Treatment Programs

Addiction should not be left untreated. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, it is best to seek addiction treatment on time. Most insurance covers some part of addiction treatment. Just to be sure, contact your insurance provider like Cigna and all the details of coverage regarding your addiction treatment program. 


Here are some addiction treatment programs that can help you:


Medical Detox

The first step is to make sure that there are no toxins in the body. The best to eliminate toxins is by a medically supervised detox. Doctors provide supervision so you can detox safely. During detox a patient can feel withdrawal symptoms, this is why medical detox is better because if a problem arises, doctors can take care of them.


Medicated-Assisted Treatment (MAT) 

It is a holistic approach that uses both medication and therapies to make sure to cure addiction. Medications like Suboxone and Naltrexone can help treat addiction. 


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies 

Therapies are used to make sure that a person willing to let go of addiction can learn ways to cope with their cravings. Family or group therapies are a healthy way to induce some sense of responsibility in an addict and make sure they achieve a long-lasting recovery.


Telehealth Addiction Treatment

Technology has made life so much easier, people can now get addiction treatment virtually. Telehealth addiction treatment programs are just as effective as in-person addiction treatment. These programs are easier because there is no need to travel and worry about travel expenses. 


5 Facts About Addiction

There are some things that are proven true time and time again. It is vital to get your facts straight before offering someone help. Here are some common facts about addiction.


Fact 1: Addiction Causes Brain Changes 

Apart from playing with your emotions, addiction can influence your brain physically too. 

How does this happen? Look, when you use substances like cocaine or marijuana, it hits the pleasure center of the brain. This causes the brain to release more dopamine than normal. Now the brain needs more dopamine to experience a pleasurable effect. Ultimately long-term use leads to decreased dopamine production or fewer dopamine receptors altering the brain’s structure and function. Understanding how alcohol and other illicit drugs are having an effect on your body is essential. Many teenagers ignore the negative aspects of doing drugs and drinking and just seek social acceptance. 


Fact 2: Genes Play Their Part In Addiction 

Ever wondered if genes play a part in substance abuse? Yes, they do! Research says that around 40-60% of the risk involved in becoming an addict is due to genes. However, you are not born with addiction. Yes, that’s right! You can even avoid it later on in life. And how to do that? See, environmental factors are as crucial as genetics in this regard. If you have a family history of substance abuse, try to be more careful. Save the younger generations. You can do this either by putting a ban on the substance or keeping a close eye on them. Addressing the problem also helps avoid it. This also justifies the fact that some people become addicted to certain substances while others do not. In short, addiction is hereditary and parents who are addicts may produce children who will be more likely to fall into addiction than sober parents. 


Fact 3: Relapse Does Not Mean Failure

Don’t lose hope if a relapse occurs. Keep in mind, that relapse does not equate to treatment failure. Since addiction treatment is long-term, it is not unusual for a relapse to occur. 

So what can we do now? Be positive and take it as a learning opportunity. Try to identify what caused the relapse. Then find ways to avoid it in the future. Relapse just means that you tried and gave your best but in the end, something went wrong and you started doing drugs or drinking again. Do not let relapse prevent you from seeking addiction treatment. 


Fact 4: MAT Is The Most Effective Approach To Addiction

Do you or your loved ones wish to live a self-directed life and want to recover fully? Good news! Addiction is a treatable disorder. Research says MAT or Medical Assisted Treatment combines the use of FDA-approved medicines with behavioral therapy and counseling.  So How does this work? The medicines work by normalizing the brain’s function reducing euphoria and cravings for the substance used. MAT is a clinically proven approach. Apart from recovery, it can even significantly reduce the chances of a relapse. Medications help in curing addiction, moreover, therapies seal the deal by making sure that recovery is long-lasting. 


Fact 5: Addiction is a Disease 

Anything that disrupts the body’s normal functioning is a disease. The American Medical Association (AMA) classified addiction as a disease in 1987. Just like other diseases like diabetes and hypertension, addiction is a chronic brain disorder. So you see addicts are suffering from something they have no control over. Be empathetic towards them as they are already going through a lot. Most people tend to seek treatment for physical ailments and ignore addictions when addiction treatment should be a priority. Addiction can not only destroy your brain functioning but also gradually destroy your liver and other organs. 


5 Myths About Addiction

Now let’s bust five myths associated with addiction.


Myth 1: Addicts are Unemployed

Unfortunately, addicts are looked down on by society. People see them as useless creatures just wandering around. If you are one of those people, let me prove you wrong. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says that 3 out of 4 people with an alcohol or drug addiction work. And none of them live on the street. 


Myth 2: Addiction is a Choice 

50% of the risk involved in becoming an addict is due to genes. Environmental and social factors such as an abusive household count for the remaining 50%. Often addicts are miserable and have gone through so much that they resort to a substance. In the beginning, people do not realize that they can become addicted to a substance. At first, they voluntarily use drugs or alcohol to overcome pain or gain pleasure. Ultimately they become addicted to it if they do not stop. 


Why does this happen? 

This is because the brain’s mechanism has already been altered. Now it wants more. 

At that point, addicts are left with no choice. 


Myth 3: Addicts are Bad And Should Be Punished 

At this stage of life, the best thing you can offer an addict is support. Never discourage or punish them. Don’t blackmail the addict as it can cause more damage than benefit. Instead, deal with a positive attitude. Communication is the key here. Try building a relationship of trust with the addict. Encourage him to talk it out. If it’s you then involve family and friends or anyone you are close to. Consult a therapist. What’s important here is to realize that it’s a disease that anyone can suffer from. Yes! Remember, it’s not about willpower or strength. And addicts are not weak. 

Myth 4: Hit Rock Bottom Before You Seek Help 

As soon as you realize what’s going wrong with you or a loved one, it’s time to take action. You see, seeking treatment at the earliest can improve the chances of recovery. Remember, you don’t have to hit rock bottom before you seek help. Delaying treatment can prove to be troublesome in most instances. 


Myth 5: Prescription Drugs cannot Cause Addiction

Although it is logical to think that prescription drugs are not addictive. It is not true. Sedatives, painkillers, and stimulants are highly addictive, which is worrisome. Opioids are highly abused prescription medicines. Research says that approximately 9.25 million people used opioids for non-medical purposes in the U.S in 2020. 


Final Words

If you or anyone you know is suffering from addiction, immediately take action. It is always hard to take the first step. I know it is easier said than done. But once you have crossed this rocky path, you will be able to live a wonderful life. Dependency kills you. So before your addiction costs you or your loved one his life, eradicate this nuisance.

Categories: Health

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].