In observance of National Recovery Month
We spoke to him recently about what he sees as the top five misconceptions about addiction and recovery.
Here is what he had to say:
1. Misconception: Addicts could quit if they wanted.
Reality: Once someone realizes they have become addicted, the power of independent rational choice has been greatly diminished by changes in brain chemistry and physiology. Simply having the “want to” is not enough.
2. Misconception: Addiction is rare.
Reality: Addiction is much more common than we realize, and when we understand the definition of addiction as “something we use to avoid thoughts, feelings or memories,” it is almost universal.
3. Misconception: Addiction is a nuisance, not a real problem.
Reality: The coronavirus is just now approaching the same number of fatalities in the U.S. as drug and alcohol related deaths (not including lung cancer from smoking). We will continue to have those same addiction-related deaths long after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.
4. Misconception: If someone just stops, everything would be fine.
Reality: A large percentage of addicts are self-medicating an underlying condition. Some are major mental health disorders and others are simply compensating for other struggles, which still need to be addressed once sobriety has been achieved. Getting healthy is a long process involving lots of help — not simply one day where someone stops drinking.
5. Misconception: Let’s just find a miracle pill that will make everything go away.
Reality: Unfortunately, recovery is not that simple — and certainly not that easy. Yes, there are helpful medications that play a part, but when we believe that controlling symptoms is the same as a cure, we have greatly misunderstood the disease.
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