Myths About Rehab

Whether this is your first time considering rehabilitation or you’ve tried other options unsuccessfully, it’s perfectly natural to fear the unknown. However, many people have a false notion of what addiction treatment is like, due to factors like social stigma, shame, or misinformation.

False information and other social pressures do much more harm than simply misrepresenting addiction treatment. These myths and false information keep millions of people from getting the help they need each year. In 2023, while nearly 21 million people were diagnosed with a substance use disorder, only 11% received the professional help that they require.

Debunking Lies About Addiction Treatment

Despite the fact that rehab is often glamorized or obsessively dissected in popular culture, a surprising number of people know very little about what actually goes on during addiction treatment. Let’s take a look at some common rumors:

Myth #1: People Will Judge Me If I Go To Treatment

Sadly, rehab and addiction treatment have a long history of negative stigma. Due to decades of viewing addiction as a “moral failure” rather than a disease, many people view those battling substance use disorders as untrustworthy, unworthy of love and connection, or have problems controlling impulses. Due to this false notion, people struggling with substance abuse may feel as though by attending rehab, their loved ones, coworkers, friends, or others close to them may view them negatively.

Negative stigma surrounding addiction and addiction treatment can cause immense harm to those in need of help. While the negative stigma of rehab not only can keep those in need of help from getting treatment, it can also further the shame and negative feelings often accompanied by an addiction.

Myth #2: You Have To Hit Rock Bottom First

On the other end of the spectrum, the other group of people who are commonly known for getting treatment are the ones who are really bad off. Homeless, desperately in debt, disowned by family—people who’ve drifted so far that treatment is their only option.

While there are certainly those who have “hit rock bottom” that go to rehab, even people who are “high-functioning” addicts have found great success through treatment. You don’t have to wait until you lose everything in order to make positive moves toward a better future.

Myth #3: Treatment Is Like Quitting Cold Turkey

The practitioners and nurses who work in treatment centers are trained to help you overcome your addiction in the most comfortable and efficient way possible. In cases of heavy abuse, a supervised drug detox can help wean people off drugs with minimal side effects. Prescription drugs such as these are often used to ease withdrawal:

  • Buprenorphine

    A mild opioid with limited abuse potential, which reduces withdrawal pains from opioid addiction.

  • Methadone

    Similar to buprenorphine in effects, but used for more serious opioid and heroin addictions.

  • Naltrexone

    Eases cravings and reduces effects of both alcohol and opioids.

  • Antidepressants

    Antidepressants are often prescribed for withdrawal-related depression.

Regardless of how the detoxification process works at a given treatment facility, it is always better to go through it under the guidance of a trained professional than trying to quit on your own.

Myth #4: Treatment Is Unaffordable

Some treatment centers, especially inpatient centers, can be pricey. However, there are many options available to people who need help paying for treatment. Many insurance plans cover some or all of the costs of treatment, and some programs allow for payment plans or reduced costs based on financial needs.

Additionally, there are numerous government-sponsored programs and private organizations that may provide grants or financial aid to those who may need it. If you think that you cannot afford rehab, Contact a treatment provider today to learn more about your options.

Don’t let money be the only thing that stands in your way.

Myth #5: You’ll Lose Your Job

There is, unfortunately, a common myth about rehab that keeps many people from getting the help they need: that they will lose their job if they go to rehab. While the decision to retain or fire an employee ultimately resides with the employer in most US states, it does not necessarily mean you will lose your job if you need to attend rehab.

First, it’s important to note that there are two major pieces of legislation that are available to help protect workers should they be struggling with an addiction and need help. The first is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which was passed in 1993, and provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid—and not reimbursable—leave for qualified individuals to seek treatment for a SUD, or to help a loved one struggling with addiction without being fired.

The other is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990, which protects individuals by prohibiting employers from participating in discriminating behaviors, including, amongst others, firing an employee for attending rehab both now or in the past.

Myth #6: Mental Illness Isn’t Treated In Rehab

Many people believe that rehabs only treat addiction, even in cases where mental illness is present. This is simply false. Over the years, addiction experts and the medical field as a whole have made leaps and bounds in their understanding of addiction. What used to be seen as a “moral failure” has now been recognized as a real, diagnosable disease.

With our updated understanding of addiction comes a new understanding about mental illness. Medical experts now know that addiction and mental illness are intertwined, and that they feed off one another in a sort of “vicious cycle.” Recent data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that nearly 50% of people with an addiction also struggle with a mental illness.

In rehab, treatment specialists understand the importance of treating co-occurring mental illness. Typically, most rehab facilities are equipped with staff members who specialize in treating mental illness, like psychiatrists, therapists, counselors, and other mental health experts.

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Myth #7: Rehab Is Like Jail

Another unfortunate myth about rehab is that they operate like a prison. Popular media often portrays rehab as frightening and solitary, with indifferent staff, leading to its unfair association with prison. To someone with no outside knowledge of what a drug and alcohol rehab center looks like, these false depictions can seem convincing, leading many to put off getting the help they deserve.

The truth is, rehab is nothing like prison. Unlike a prison, the overwhelming majority of people in rehab choose to enter on their own accord. While it’s true that some people enter rehab by way of court order or other involuntary means, most do so because they want to better their lives and free themselves from substance abuse.

Myth #8: Rehab Is Only For “Hard Drugs”

There is a common misconception that rehab is only for “hard” drugs, like heroin or methamphetamines, rather than more commonly used and socially acceptable drugs like alcohol or marijuana. Not only is this misconception flat out wrong, but it can also be extremely harmful as well.

Regardless of the substance being abused, most rehab facilities are ready, willing, and well-versed in treating a wide array of addictions. Even drugs that some may view as recreational or “harmless,” like marijuana, can be treated in rehab facilities if addiction arises.

Find Your Treatment

Regardless of what you struggle with, how bad your situation is, where you live or how much money you make, there is a treatment option available for you. It’s an investment you can make in yourself and your future. Contact a treatment provider today and take your first step towards a new life.