Excessive use of destructive substances – whether those are opioids, illegal drugs, alcohol, pain medication, etc. – can quickly reduce self-confidence and cripple productivity. Worse, substance use practices can impair social and familial relationships, damage internal wellness and compromise long-term health.

Individuals seeking help in addressing their substance use habits often face an uphill battle. Even after admitting that they need help, and asking friends and family members for support, they need to commit themselves to receiving appropriate medication and treatment. 

The stigma surrounding substance use practices doesn’t make this process any easier. From incorrect definitions of substance use to unrealistic expectations of detox and treatment, public disinformation does anyone struggling with substance use habits a disservice. We’ve taken the time to outline, and dispel, five of the most popular substance use myths below.

Myth: All you need to do to overcome addiction is believe in yourself.

This is one of the most popular myths regarding substance use habits today: if you’re looking to overcome substance use practices, all you need to do is decide to do it.

Here’s the truth: while willpower does have a role to play when it comes to breaking free of your substance use habits, many individuals need far more than a determined will to reach and maintain recovery.

Substance use habits, especially substance use habits that are more ingrained, having taken place over sustained periods of time, can actually change the way that the brain functions and perceives issues. The more developed the substance use practices, the more powerful the desire for drugs or alcohol can be.

Often, it’s actually the onset of withdrawal symptoms that can drive individuals to return to substance use habits. In these moments, logically deciding to quit isn’t a realistic option, given how intense withdrawal effects can be. Treatment programs are often required to help individuals challenged with substance use practices break free of their respective habits.

Myth: People who have developed substance use habits are weak.

There’s also a common misconception that individuals suffering with substance use habits are somehow weaker than those individuals without the same challenges. This myth couldn’t be further from reality.

Here’s the truth: There are many factors which contribute to the development of substance use practices, but everyone challenged with substance use shares a similarity – they would quit if they could.

Some individuals who face substance use challenges are using substances as an outlet for unhealthy self-medication. Others may participate in substance use practices because of underlying behavioral or mental health issues. Still others who experience substance use habits are affected by genetic predispositions to self-destructive drug or alcohol use. No matter why individuals use substances, weakness does not alone drive someone toward isolated, repeated or chronic substance use.

Myth: Substance use habits really only affect lower-income demographics.

Another popular misconception surrounding substance use habits is its “target demographic,” as if substance use itself was responsible for choosing which individuals participate.

Here’s the truth: Substance use habits don’t play favorites. They can affect anyone, at any time, in any place, regardless of income, gender, social status or demographic. Substance use habits have proven effective in disrupting every level of society, without exception.

This isn’t to discredit the fact that specific demographics might find themselves more predisposed to substance use issues. However, ultimately substance use draws no line between incomes. While the method of substance acquisition might differ, sometimes significantly, between members of income brackets the short and long-term effects of substance use challenges remain painfully the same.

Myth: Individuals challenged by substance use issues won’t seek help until they hit “rock bottom.”

Here’s another common misconception about individuals challenged with substance use issues: they neglect help until they hit “rock bottom.”

Here’s the truth: many individuals facing substance use challenges choose to get help well before they approach a critical point in their dependence.

It’s certainly a mistake to assume, or to claim, that individuals facing substance use habits will wait until advanced stages of their issues before seeking help. In fact, on the contrary large percentages of those affected by substances choose to take productive steps in managing their problems, well before they experience anything like a “rock bottom” state. Much of this initiative can be credited to the positive efforts of friends, family members and peers, who prove ongoing support and the encouragement that drive those affected toward sustained recovery.

Employers can provide even more reason to get help with substance use habits. Whether it’s at the insistence of an office superior or through the outreach of a human resources department or employee assistance program, employers can oftentimes prove another factor in causing individuals to seek substance use assistance resources and treatment, before the situation ever turns dire.

Myth: Substance use treatment doesn’t work.

And finally, there is sadly a large number of people, some of whom are adversely affected by substance use habits, who believe that treatment for drug and alcohol use simply doesn’t work.

Here’s the truth: Substance use treatment works. Through a combination of personalized therapy, FDA-approved medication and treatment tailored to your individual needs, substance use treatment can absolutely help you distance yourself from self-destructive habits.

Get the Help You Need

Nestled in gorgeous Asheville, North Carolina, Real Recovery offers the clinical services you need to take back your freedom and your life. Our partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient and outpatient programs offer a host of passionate, professional clinicians and healthcare professionals dedicated to your lasting well-being. We deploy evidence-based approaches to provide substance use treatment programs that yield a lasting impact on your health and happiness. Call 1 855-363-7325 today, or reach a member of our team, to join a thriving community of individuals pursuing a single goal: health, renewal and distance from substance use.