According to the UK’s leading drug addiction counsellors on Harley Street, the subject of drug addiction and rehab remains one of widespread confusion.  From what exactly constitutes an addiction to what takes place during the treatment process and what leads a person into addiction in the first place, it is a subject rife with myths and misconceptions.

So in order to clarify some of the most important points of all, what follows is a brief overview of just a few of the most common misconceptions and the respective truths behind them.

Myth #1: Drug addiction is voluntary behaviour.

The basis for this particular myth is the fact that in the vast majority of instances, it is indeed a voluntary decision by an individual to try any given drug in the first place. In terms of addiction however, the transition between occasional drug user and full-blown addict is often something that is totally beyond the control of the individual concerned. The reason being that when drugs are used – particularly in escalating amounts – they have a direct impact on the way the brain and body work. Which in turn means that the common sense reasoning, logic and actual ability of the individual in question to stop may be significantly diminished, or even destroyed. So while they may have made a conscious decision to try a drug in the first place, developing an addiction may have been entirely out of their control.

Myth #2: Drug addiction is a character flaw.

Right now, health campaigners all over the world are desperately trying to persuade local and national governments to start looking at drug addicts and drug addiction not as criminal offenses or character flaws, but instead as genuine diseases. As mentioned above, the simple fact of the matter is that when you take drugs, the way your brain functions is altered significantly. This is something the overwhelming majority of drugs have in common and is precisely why drug addiction should be interpreted as an actual disease. When your brain changes, the person you were beforehand might to a large extent no longer exist. At least, in terms of your personality, temperament, motor skills, memory and ability to make rational decisions. The fact that drugs have been used to spur such changes is inconsequential. The fact remains, a drug addiction is a disease of the brain.

Myth #3: You have to want drug treatment for it to be effective.

There is a common misconception that in order for drug treatment to be effective, the individual in question has to want drug treatment. Realistically however, absolutely nobody in the world genuinely wants drug treatment, given the way in which they know the process will almost always be difficult, painful and generally unpleasant. As such, it is unfair and misguided to assume that a person needs to want to receive drug treatment, in order for it to be effective.  Instead, it’s a case of the individual in question wanting to make a recovery, and therefore understanding the need drug treatment. It may be seen as something as the lesser of two evils – both their current situation and the idea of treatment being nothing close to desirable. You don’t have to want drug treatment – you simply have to want to make a positive difference in your life.

Myth #4: Treatment for drug addiction should be a one-shot deal.

In so many instances, those with no experience in drug addiction treatment believe that everyone should be given one shot at making a full recovery and starting their life afresh. The way they see it, they have absolutely everything they need right there in front of them to transform their lives, which in turn means that if they fail, they either do not genuinely want to make a recovery or simply cannot be bothered. In reality however, addiction really must be viewed as the chronic condition it really is. Just as is the case with suffering from any other disease or illness, the first shot doesn’t always work. By contrast, keep on fighting it and chances are something will work sooner or later.

Myth #5: There Should Be a Silver-Bullet Cure for All Addiction

Last but not least, while it would be great if there was any kind of universally effective treatment for all addictions, this is something that is simply never going to happen. The reason being that not only does addiction affect each and every person entirely uniquely, but there is absolutely no such thing as an outright ‘cure’ for any addiction. You can treat an addiction, those affected can manage addictions and you can certainly live your life without addiction taking over. Nevertheless, there is absolutely no such thing as a ‘cure’ for addiction, meaning that those who believe there to be are entirely misguided on the subject in general.