Drug addiction is more than a national epidemic. It has far-reaching effects on individuals, families and communities in Allen County. According to the Ohio Department of Health Emergency Department, hospitalizations in Allen County for opioid-related overdoses in the first six months of 2020 were nearly 15% higher than in 2019.
Misinformation and social stigma always make it harder for people to get help – and even more so in the midst of an epidemic. When it comes to fighting addiction and saving lives, the best defense is to break the stigma by learning the facts.
Myth # 1: Addiction is a moral failure
Many people assume that addiction is a choice – they view people struggling with addiction as impulsive, reckless, or lacking in self-control. In reality, drug addiction is a complex chronic disease caused by a mixture of genetic, psychological and environmental factors. Family history, childhood trauma, and mental illness are just a few factors that can make a person more vulnerable to addiction.
The medical diagnosis of drug addiction is called “substance use disorder” or “SUD”. When a person becomes physically dependent on a substance, it replaces their brain’s natural wiring and causes them to seek out more of that chemical through intense, often painful cravings. The decisions a person makes when dealing with an addiction is the result of their illness and not of a character flaw.
As with any illness, the right treatment can help people overcome their addiction and rebuild their lives.
Myth # 2: you need insurance to get treatment
Cost is one of the reasons many people do not seek treatment for a substance use disorder. Yet even people who have no insurance can get quality treatment.
While some drug treatment providers only accept commercial or private insurance, others accept all forms, including Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE (military insurance). Treatment providers on the front lines of the substance abuse epidemic understand that the ability to pay shouldn’t determine where a patient goes for help.
BrightView, an outpatient drug addiction treatment provider in Lima, also partners with sponsors and private foundations to make sure everyone can get the care they need, even if they aren’t. insured and not eligible for Medicaid.
Myth # 3: Drug treatment is just trading one addiction for another
Science-based drug treatment often begins with drugs to manage withdrawal and reduce cravings so patients can focus on their recovery. This “medication assistance treatment” (MAT) stabilizes the brain.
Research shows that MAT is very effective and reduces the risk of relapse. People with substance use disorders often take medication every day, just like most people with chronic illnesses take medication daily to keep their illness under control.
A person who takes blood pressure medication daily is not “addicted” to it, nor is someone who uses medications to help support their recovery from a substance use disorder.
Myth # 4: You have to “go to rehab” to treat addiction
When you think of drug addiction treatment, you might imagine expensive spas like the ones you see celebrities in. In reality, the average person with substance use disorders can’t afford a luxurious recovery, let alone a month off.
Outpatient treatment programs allow people to work on their recovery without sacrificing work, family chores, or other responsibilities. In fact, research shows that intensive outpatient drug treatment is as effective as inpatient treatment for most people.
Additionally, outpatient treatment programs do not have a high price tag or long waiting lists – next day and same day appointments are usually available at local centers.
Myth # 5: You can cure addiction
As with any other chronic illness, there are no quick fixes for substance use disorders. The right treatment can help patients make long-term recovery, but it is an ongoing process that is more about progress than perfection.
Scientific research proves that the best results and lasting recovery are the result of a large-scale treatment approach that includes medication when needed, individual and group counseling, and social support resources. It’s no different from people who use nutrition, exercise, and medication to control other chronic illnesses.
At BrightView, we respect and support each person’s unique journey to recovery. By tailoring our services and resources to each individual, we equip people with the tools they need to be successful over the long term.
Ultimately, the biggest addiction myth is that anyone has to deal with a substance use disorder on their own.
Anne Adkins MSW, LISW-S is the Clinical Supervisor at BrightView’s Substance Abuse Treatment Center in Lima. Area residents can call 833-510-HELP 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, receive immediate attention in central Lima at 1505 N Cole St until 3 p.m. on weekdays, and get more information on www.brightviewhealth.com.