Punishment Fails, Rehabilitation Works!
The Benefits of Substance Abuse Programs
On June 11, 2012, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, gave a speech at the Betty Ford Center. Kerlikowske raised awareness and called for a “paradigm shift” of substance abuse, in which addiction would be considered a public health issue and not a felony. He also remarked that addiction “is not a moral failing on the part of the individual, but a chronic disease of the brain that can be treated.” How revolutionary his words were!
Kerlikowske’s speech focused on altering the way Americans view addiction, moving farther away from punishment and toward prevention, treatment and recovery. But in order for an actual “paradigm shift” to make berth, there are a few common treatment myths that must be dealt with. Through public awareness and community endeavors, more and more individuals who struggle with either the undiagnosed or untreated disease of addiction will get the help they need for long-term recovery.
Do you realize that many of the treatment models that are used today were started in the 1930s? Did they work? Yes. Do they work? Sure, for some, but not for everyone. Just as disease treatments for cancer and diabetes change over time, shouldn’t we advance and change our care for those struggling with addiction? Don’t you think it’s time for an overhaul in how we treat addiction, especially now that we know more about what it is, how it works with our mentality, and the best ways to treat it?
Myth 1 – Forced Treatment is Not Successful
Oftentimes family members are under the impression that the addict/alcoholic has to want treatment in order to experience success. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is quite rare that a person starts up treatment out of their own volition. Instead, he or she is typically forced into drug and alcohol rehab by a spouse or significant other, the judicial system or an employer, to name a few. It isn’t until some weeks or months have passed in addiction treatment that the individual sees the promise and benefit of recovery.
Myth 2 – Addicts Have to Hit Rock Bottom Before They Can Get Better
Addicts/alcoholics come in many forms — even if the individual has not hit the stereotypical ‘rock bottom,’ he or she can still benefit from drug and alcohol treatment. This is especially true if the patient grew up with a parent or loved one that had addiction problems. They very well may be able to identify these traits in themselves and be more inclined to seek help. The ultimate goal in recovery is to prevent ‘rock bottom’ from ever taking place.
Myth 3 – Willpower is the Key to Overcoming an Addiction
Society often views addicts or alcoholics as stubborn or weak-minded. This is pure myth. Addiction is a disease that crosses all socio-economic boundaries, from high-functioning CEO’s to high school dropouts. Although most addicts are hesitant to start a substance abuse treatment program, they will begin to see a brighter side of life once they give it a chance. Abstinence is the start of recovery — the psychological change comes later.
Myth 4 – Addicts or Alcoholics Must Recover for Themselves
Potential patients don’t have to want to be in treatment, nor should they be left to recover for themselves. If they maintain the frame of mind that they’re in recovery for a loved one, the treatment is still just as effective. The point is, they are in treatment. Once the individual gives recovery a shot, he or she will eventually accept this new way of life, whether it’s for a loved one or not.
Myth 5 – All Addiction Treatment Facilities Are the Same
Sometimes a patient goes through several rehab centers until he or she finds long-term recovery. Family members often become exhausted and discouraged at this point, and they begin to think all facilities are the same. Also, a financial toll now has befallen the family. The patient may have made little to no progress in certain areas. Every addiction treatment center has a specialty, including dual-diagnosis, gender-specific, long-term residential and the Therapeutic Community model. When searching for the best drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, conduct extensive research before making a decision.
ABOVE ALL, do not lose hope! There is a treatment plan that will work for you! You are not the only one going through this, and if you do not have a support system at home, you will find one at your rehab facility. Many, many people have conquered addiction and are now free from that life. We urge you to look into treatment options in your area and get the help you deserve and are entitled to!
Substance Abuse Programs in Orange County
Phoenix Rising provides Substance Abuse Programs and Outpatient Rehab to Orange County residents serving locations: Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, Ladera Ranch, Lake Forest, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Laguna Woods, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Beach, Coto De Caza, Rancho Santa Margarita, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Orange, Tustin, and all other Orange County cities that are within driving distance for outpatient programming.