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The amount of information regarding addiction, overcoming addiction and addiction treatment can be overwhelming and confusing. It can be difficult to sort the fact from the fiction. Below are five common addiction myths and the facts behind them.

Myth: Overcoming addiction is simply a matter of willpower. You can stop using drugs if you really want.
Fact: Prolonged exposure to drugs alters the brain in ways that result in powerful cravings and a compulsion to use. These brain changes make it extremely difficult to quit by sheer force of will.

Myth: Addicts must hit rock bottom before they can get better.
Fact: Recovery can begin at any point in the addiction process: the earlier, the better. The longer drug abuse continues, the stronger the addiction becomes and the harder it is to treat. Don’t wait to intervene until the addict has lost everything.

Myth: Treatment didn’t work before, so there’s no point trying again.
Fact: Recovery from any addiction, can be a long process that often involves setbacks. Relapse doesn’t mean that treatment has failed or that sobriety is a lost cause. Rather, it’s a signal to get back on track, either by going back to treatment or adjusting the treatment approach.

Myth: You can’t force someone into treatment. They must want help.
Fact: Treatment doesn’t have to be voluntary to be successful. People who are pressured into treatment by their family, employer, or the legal system are just as likely to benefit as those who choose to enter treatment on their own. As they sober up and their thinking clears, many formerly resistant addicts decide they want to change.

Myth: Addiction is a disease. There’s nothing that can be done about it.
Fact: Most experts agree that addiction is a disease that affects the brain. The brain changes associated with addiction can be treated and reversed through self-help, therapy, medication, exercise, good nutrition and other treatments.

These myths are just the tip of the information iceberg when it comes to addiction. If you need help understanding the truth, the Kennedy St team are on hand to offer advice and guidance. Call 01273 758561 or email clare@kennedystreetcio.org. Or click here for a list of recovery fellowships.