Prescription abuse is a topic that is important to discuss so individuals become aware of the dangers of prescription drug addiction. However, with the stigma of addiction comes myths that may lead to people actually living with this disease neglect getting help. It’s vital to address myths and stigmas associated with addiction so that people dealing with it can get the help they need. This way, they can live out their lives free from the struggles and destruction addiction brings.
Friends, family, and loved ones of individuals struggling with prescription dependence often assume that addiction is the only issue when it comes to abusing prescribed medications. However, the thing about addiction is that it’s not something that just happens on its own very often. There are typically underlying causes of addiction, including genetics, family history, environmental factors, and co-occurring disorders.
According to government findings, almost 40% of people living with addiction also have some other type of mental health issue. This means that in many cases, addiction isn’t the only mental health issue someone is dealing with. And, furthermore, that the causes of addiction may include mental health issues. Thus, addiction isn’t the only issue and the only thing to blame for the root cause of these self-destructive behaviors.
Often, people think there’s a fine line when it comes to prescription drug addiction but there really isn’t. Addiction isn’t black and white and each person struggling with it may be on different levels of the addiction spectrum. It’s not like there’s a day that a person wakes up and suddenly they’re ‘addicted.
Typically, the cycle of addiction begins with experimental or social use, using prescriptions to get high or self-medicate by numbing physical or psychological pain. People don’t often use addictive substances and plan to become dependent upon these substances. It’s true that some people can use prescriptions and never become addicted. However, for others, using these substances can induce a cycle of addictive behavior which leads to a lifestyle of dependency. So, it’s important to know that addiction doesn’t look the same for every person and there’s no ‘addiction line’ a person crosses in which they all-of-a-sudden become an addict.
Treatment isn’t a cure-all for addiction. It’s common for friends and family to think that their loved one struggling with addiction is suddenly cured after a 30, 60, or even 90-day treatment program. But, treatment is only the beginning of recovery, not the end. It’s important for friends and family of those in treatment to understand that recovery is lifelong and takes commitment and lifestyle change even after treatment. So, encouraging these changes and the commitment to sobriety can go above and beyond to support those you love who have just completed treatment.
Additionally, unfortunately, treatment isn’t always enough to thwart relapse. And, some people may have to go to treatment many times before they actually obtain lasting, lifelong recovery. While treatment is a necessary and successful tool for helping people gain the tools and skills needed to get sober, some won’t take it seriously and make the full commitment to getting help. Or, they just have a moment in which they cannot take back and end up reverting back to addictive behaviors, known as relapse. Sadly, up to 85% of people relapse within their first year following prescription drug addiction treatment. So, it’s imperative to understand that treatment isn’t a fix to addiction, but a helpful tool that allows individuals the knowledge and professional assistance required to gain complete recovery.