Myths about rehab treatment are never-ending because substance abuse and addiction continue to be unexplored by the general public. If people were more aware of the benefits and realities of rehab treatment for drug and alcohol addictions, perhaps there would be a larger turnout in people with substance addictions seeking treatment.
As noted in the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 22.5 million people aged 12 years and older were said to be in need of treatment for their problematic use of alcohol and illicit drugs. Yet, only an estimated 4.1 million people received substance use treatment within the past year and 2.6 million people received treatment in a specialty facility, leaving nearly 20 million people going untreated for their addiction.
It seems people will go to many lengths to talk themselves out of getting help, but it’s time to debunk some more myths and hopefully give you, or a loved one, more courage to begin your pathway towards recovery.
What People Think: “Only celebrities go into luxury rehabs.”
The Reality: Absolutely not true! There are plenty of inpatient program options available to those in need of financial assistance. There is also the option of choosing a low-cost outpatient program, which can be scheduled specifically to your needs. Most insurance plans, including Medicare and military coverage, will cover treatment, in fact, but you may need to call your healthcare provider to determine the specifics of which types of treatment is covered under your plan. With a bit of research, you can even find scholarships to cover the cost of your treatment. Don’t let finances get in the way of bettering your life. There’s always a way to get help.
Myth #2: You’ll lose your job if you get treatment.
What People Think: “I’ll have to reveal I’m an addict to my employer and coworkers.”
The Reality: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) defines substance abuse as a “serious health condition,” which allows employees to pursue treatment for their addictions without risking the loss of their jobs, provided the employer has not written other non-discriminatory policies in contract beforehand. Should an employee decide to enroll in rehab, they are allowed 12-week, unpaid job protection and can return to their position after treatment. Certain requirements may be necessary for using FMLA leave, such as working for a year at the establishment, or fulfilling an Employee Assistance Program through your employer.
What People Think: “They all push a Christian agenda on you.”
The Reality: Of all the myths about rehab treatment centers, this one is the most popular. Granted, yes, many people who seek treatment do find solace in believing in a higher power and feel as if they are getting a second chance at life. People find comfort in religion, but it’s not the only method in recovery—just as how Christianity isn’t the only religion. Plenty of other religious programs exist, such as those for Jewish and Muslim beliefs, as well as secular programs, which focus on more traditional, medicinal therapies and psychoanalysis. Whichever makes you feel comfortable, you determine the pathway to your recovery.
Myth #4: All you need is detox, not rehab.
What People Think: “You can do detox in a couple of days. Rehab treatment is for people who don’t want to go back to their lives.”
The Reality: While detox can eliminate toxins from the body, it does not eliminate the brain disease that comes with addiction. Rapid detox, which must be done in an intensive care unit under strict supervision, can still be dangerous and have adverse events occur—such as immediate relapse that led to violent behavior or overdose—because the mental aspect of substance abuse was not treated, as warned by the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Detox is one of the first steps in addiction treatment but, sometimes, it may not occur; instead, medical professionals will often immediately use maintenance medication to gradually detox clients throughout their rehabilitation and begin counseling methods.
What People Think: “This method worked for one person, so it should work for you.”
The Reality: No two people are the same, and so each individual may require a unique set of strategies for their substance-abuse treatment. On a practical level, different drugs need different treatments. Heroin detox is definitely not the same as alcohol detox. Clients with dual-diagnosis mental illnesses will need specific psychiatric treatment for their needs, while others only need support group therapy. A client’s sexuality, gender, religion, age, race, and all sorts of other life and identity variables play a factor in treatment. What worked for one person may not work for another, which is why finding the best methods can be trial and error.
Myth #6: If you have a mental illness on top of an addiction, you have to treat the mental illness first.
What People Think: “The reason you’re addicted is because of your mental illness, so if you get rid of that, you’re good.”
The Reality: Dual-diagnosis treatment programs exist for this exact reason. Mental illness and substance abuse often go hand in hand and definitely affect one another. Toxic mental cycles need to be addressed, particularly when individuals use substances as self-medication. A depressed person who hates that they’ve fallen into addiction is still likely to use drugs and alcohol to cope with their feelings, furthering their descent into depression about their substance misuse. While treating mental illness separately is not necessarily a bad decision, it is not effective in capturing the root of a person’s mental health. By addressing both addiction and mental disorders within a person, the client can begin to recover.
What People Think: “All the treatment you went through was for nothing.”
The Reality: This is one of those myths about rehab treatment that’s only true if you never believed in yourself in the first place. For some people, it truly does “take one drink” or one fix to shoot them right back to square one and go through the treatment process all over again—but not all relapses are the same. There is such a thing as a “lapse,” which involves a short slip-up from the recovering addict, but who also has the mature understanding that they made a mistake and need to continue their recovery. This is what treatment is for. To help people realize their shortcomings and learn how to move on. Some folks need a repeat in lessons, but others are well-equipped to keep going even after they’ve tripped.
If you have a loved one struggling with substance abuse and addiction, California Highlands is available 24-7 to help you reach out to your loved one and guide them toward treatment. Call (844) 318-0074 today and learn about our rehab facility and treatment options. At California Highlands, we provide a unique approach to recovery, delivered with dignity and respect.