Wasatch Recovery Treatment Center

Myths and Facts About Medical Treatment for Substance Abuse

In 2018, more than 19 million adolescents and adults in the U.S. needed treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD). Of these, just under one million people (5%) perceived a need for medical care, but only 392,000 people (2%) received professional help. 

While there are various reasons people don’t seek help when they’re struggling with addiction, pervasive misconceptions about rehab and recovery often play a role in keeping people away from the treatment they need.   

As addiction experts who understand just how damaging these fallacies can be, the team at Wasatch Recovery Treatment Center would like to debunk three of the most common myths surrounding SUD treatment and addiction recovery:

Myth: Willpower is all I need to beat addiction

Fact: Addiction is a chronic brain-centered disease that carries significant psychological and social components. Having a strong desire to quit or get clean can make a world of difference during treatment and recovery, but it isn’t usually enough by itself. 

Prolonged drug and alcohol use fundamentally alters the way your brain works, causing it to send powerful signals that fuel intense cravings and help drive a compulsion to use. These brain changes can make it extremely difficult or even dangerous to quit “cold turkey.”

A structured medical treatment plan that provides expert care, guidance, accountability, and support offers you a golden opportunity to get better. It also gives you the tools and skills you need to maintain a steadfast recovery that fosters long-term sobriety. 

Myth: Treatment is for people who’ve hit “rock bottom”

Fact: Recovery from addiction can begin any time — you don’t have to spiral out of control or reach an all-time low before you seek treatment or go to rehab. Like any chronic illness, SUD is easier to treat before it’s had a chance to progress or get worse. 

Given the damaging effects that addiction can have on your brain, as well as the toll it can take on your life, it’s always best to avoid hitting rock bottom. Treatment can help you do just that: rehab is for anyone who struggles with addiction, including high-functioning people who don’t appear to have a drug or drinking problem.

It’s also important to keep in mind that your definition of “rock bottom” can change significantly with continued alcohol or drug use — don’t wait to reach some elusive low point before you begin taking positive steps toward recovery.

Myth: Rehab will cure my substance use disorder

Fact: Addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition that’s influenced by many factors from the time it begins developing until it’s under control in recovery. While rehab can put you on the path toward a successful and sustainable recovery, it won’t cure your condition or eliminate your risk of relapse.

An effective rehab program provides a full continuum of care that helps you transition through multiple stages of treatment. Starting with detox and therapy, rehab helps you safely clear and stabilize your body, better understand your addiction, and learn healthy coping skills. 

Once you’ve completed rehab, a relapse prevention plan (aftercare) helps you transition into recovery. Your plan may include intensive outpatient care, day treatment, group or individual therapy, medication, ongoing med management, and dual diagnosis care for co-occurring mental health conditions.   

Long-term treatment success means many different things, but relapse doesn’t mean failure. To put it another way: recovery isn’t a straight, flat road away from addiction — it’s a winding and sometimes hilly path that can be hard to navigate without the right help. 

Contact us today to learn more about the treatment philosophy at Wasatch Recovery. We have a residential treatment center in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, and an outpatient and sober living facility in East Sandy, Utah.

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