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Myths that undermine recovery Part 2: Treatment isn’t necessary for addiction recovery

Treatment helps. Contrary to common belief, some studies depict at least a 40 to 60 percent reduction in drug use after treatment and a significant decrease in criminal activity during and after treatment. Despite the facts, there are many who still falsely believe that treatment does not work or is not necessary for recovery.

Drug abuse is often met with denial from both the afflicted individual and the associated friends and family members. Regardless, most individuals avoid a treatment facility due to the associated social stigmas, misperception that issues can be overcome without professional help, feelings of vulnerability, fear and financial constraints.

According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 23.2 million persons needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem in 2007. Of these individuals, 2.4 million received treatment at a specialty facility whereas the remaining 20.8 million did not receive it. These estimates reflect trends of previous years.

It is important to realize that drug addiction is a complex illness characterized by severe cravings, compulsive drug-seeking behaviors and usage trends that persist against all odds. Even though drug addiction is initiated with a voluntary decision to consume drugs, in the long run a person’s autonomy becomes compromised and consumption of the substance of abuse becomes compulsive. Repeated exposure to an addictive substance diminishes cognitive function and causes nerve cells in the nucleus accumbens and the prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain related to planning and executing tasks) to communicate in a way that changes liking something with obsessing over it.

Drug abuse and addiction encompass many dimensions and influence numerous aspects of an individual’s life. Effective treatment programs are, therefore, carefully designed to incorporate several elements, each directed towards a particular aspect of the illness and its effects on the individual. Treatment focuses on terminating the usage of drugs, maintenance of a drug-free lifestyle and achievement of a successful re-integration into society.

Most patients require long-term or repeated episodes of care to achieve the ultimate goal of sustained abstinence and recovery of their lives. Recovery from an addiction is not as simple as just exercising self-control.

There is also evidence that depicts drug addiction treatment reduces the risk of contracting HIV. It is approximately six times less likely for intravenous-drug users who enter and stay in treatment to become infected with HIV, compared to other users. This improves the prospects for employment, with gains of up to 40 percent after treatment, according to certain studies by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Similar to other chronic diseases, addiction has its cycles of relapse and remission. Without proper rehabilitation and recovery, addiction’s progressive nature can lead to disability or ultimate death.

Treatment enables people to effectively rid themselves of addiction’s disruptive influence on the brain and regain control of their lives. Don’t let fear or misunderstandings associated with treatment programs stop you from seeking the help you deserve. The U.S. Recovery seeks to connect individuals with necessary treatment for mental health, addiction and dual diagnosis. Our expert staff is committed to providing you the best shot at recovery without bias or judgment. If you or a loved one is currently seeking recovery, call us right away at 855-441-4405.


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