5 Myths about Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Various drugs
(Photo by itakdalee/Shutterstock.com)

With over 23 million Americans suffering from drug or alcohol addiction in the United States, it’s fair to say that we have a drug addiction crisis on our hands. Even though addiction is so widespread, there are many mistaken beliefs about this problem. We’ll clear up some of these misunderstandings by explaining the truth behind 5 of the most common myths about drug and alcohol addiction.

MYTH 1: “Overcoming addiction is a matter of willpower.”

When someone takes a drug, their brain produces a hormone called dopamine. This is the same hormone that is released when you experience happiness or pleasure. The drug user gets that same feeling of pleasure artificially and at an extremely high level. Because dopamine is present at an unnaturally high level, the brain begins to cut down on its own natural dopamine production, trying to even out these highs and lows.

The whole body gradually adjusts to the presence of these drugs and when they are withdrawn, pain, sickness, and misery kick in. Without the drugs, there are abnormally low levels of dopamine in the brain. The former drug user now feels no pleasure from life and feels like he may never feel pleasure again.

Throughout the body, the cells react to the withdrawal of the drugs or alcohol. The symptoms will vary by which drug has been withdrawn, but generally, the person could feel agitated, nervous, nauseated, anxious, paranoid or even suicidal. His body will be suffering cramps, deep bone and muscle aches, vomiting, loss of appetite or insomnia.

One person said that as she went through withdrawal, she felt simply crazy, unable to think about anything but getting more drugs. A young man withdrawing from OxyContin said he felt like his bones were melting. Describing the process of overcoming addiction as being simply a matter of willpower is a serious misrepresentation of this agonizing process. This is why so many people who desperately want to stop using drugs are driven back to drugs again and again, against their will.

Getting your brain to rewire itself takes time and is best done when one gets old, residual drug toxins out of the body. At Narconon we do this through the New Life Detoxification.

MYTH 2: “Addiction is a disease with no cure.”

We’ve all heard “Once an addict, always an addict,” and maybe we’ve even said it a few times ourselves. But, this just isn’t true. Addiction is something that can be cured and as a first step, you will need to complete a rehab program that gets stable results. As part of the Narconon program, you will receive plenty of nutritional supplements, rest and the time and attention you need so that your dopamine levels can balance out and naturally start regulating again.

MYTH 3: “Addicts must hit rock bottom before they can get better.”

With over 67,000 Americans dying every year from drug overdoses and another 367,000 ending up in hospitals across the country for overdose care, we need to reconsider the need for early intervention to save lives. Addicts need to get into treatment as soon as possible because their survival is at stake. If an addict says they don’t want help, seek assistance from an interventionist at Narconon—our interventionists are very good at getting an addict to agree that they need to come for treatment.

MYTH 4: “You can’t force someone into treatment—they have to want to be helped.”

Addiction is involuntary and an addict isn’t often aware of their need for treatment. Involuntary treatment may sometimes work. However, at Narconon, the addict must be willing to come for treatment. Again, should you have trouble getting an addict to agree that they need treatment just call Narconon and ask for an interventionist to help you.

MYTH 5: “Treatment didn’t work before, so it won’t work now.”

Many treatment programs across the country only replace one illegal addiction with a dependence on a legal medication—but the goal of rehab should be to achieve a healthy, drug-free life. For more than fifteen years, Narconon Arrowhead has demonstrated that when a person can overcome the problems or lack of life skills that started them in the direction of drug or alcohol abuse, they can emerge into a new, sober life. For so many people, the Narconon program was the last rehab program they ever needed.

Narconon Arrowhead

At Narconon Arrowhead, everything is designed to help you succeed with your rehabilitation. Everything you will need is right on-site. You will live in the beautiful lodge that overlooks Lake Eufaula and is surrounded by woods and wildlife. In this peaceful setting, you have a chance to focus fully on your own recovery, supported and guided by Narconon staff.

At Narconon Arrowhead, you will start your recovery with the Drug-Free Withdrawal that is exclusive to this rehab program. While there are some people who need medical support prior to starting the Narconon withdrawal, a surprising number can actually complete their withdrawals with just the natural methods of assistance at Narconon Arrowhead. Nutrition and one-on-one work with the staff, around the clock, if needed, enable many people to have the most tolerable withdrawal experience ever.

Should you or someone you know suffer from drug or alcohol addiction, please call us.




Joanne is a veteran Narconon staff member who earlier worked at the New York Rescue Workers Detox Program.