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Top 10 Myths About the Opioid Epidemic, Drug Addiction, and Relapse Debunked

drug addiction myths

The opioid epidemic still rages across our nation in a tragic wildfire of destruction and death. We are talking about an overwhelmingly tragic number of American lives that are being ravaged and families whose hearts are being shattered…somebody’s parent, spouse, or child. There are many common misconceptions and myths about the opioid epidemic, addiction, and relapse in our society, and today we are going to debunk 10 of them including drug addiction myths.


Addiction has many names and faces, but all addicts have one thing in common: the abuse of a substance, object, or activity. This abuse becomes a habit because the addict is emotionally and physically dependent on that substance, object, or activity to provide a sense of fulfillment, self-worth, or happiness just to name a few examples. Addiction is a cage that an addict locks themselves inside and throw away the key. Many never realize their desperate need to escape and when they do it is often too late.

We come face-to-face with many addicts in our world today whether they are addicted to alcohol, drugs, technology, gambling, pornography, nicotine, caffeine, sex, or sugar just to name a few examples. Perhaps the saddest thing about an addict is that they often do not consider themselves to have an addiction, and their addictions are not always readily apparent to others. Unfortunately, one thing about addiction is certain: the downward spiral sends the individual into a rapid descent until their addiction holds such power and sway over them that they feel powerless to break free. That addiction has become their god.

The Fascinating Science of Addiction and the Brain

Scientists are discovering a myriad of fascinating facts about addiction and the brain. Over the past three decades, scientists have come to a general consensus: that addiction is a chronic yet treatable medical condition that involves circuits associated with reward, stress, and self-control. According to this article from the Scientific American:

“Addiction is indeed many things—a maladaptive response to environmental stressors, a developmental disorder, a disorder caused by dysregulation of brain circuits, and yes, a learned behavior. We will never be able to address addiction without being able to talk about and address the myriad factors that contribute to it—biological, psychological, behavioral, societal, economic, etc. But viewing it as a treatable medical problem from which people can and do recover is crucial for enabling a public-health–focused response that ensures access to effective treatments and lessens the stigma surrounding a condition that afflicts nearly 10 percent of Americans at some point in their lives.”

Tragically, before this scientific consensus, addiction was ignorantly viewed as a “bad habit” which subjected addicts of all shapes and forms to the persecution of a social stigma. This stigma still remains in our society today which has given rise to many drug addiction myths and other addiction myths. Nevertheless, addiction can be a difficult concept to understand from the perspective of a friend or family member. Our love for the addict can move mountains, but it can also blind us in our efforts to free them by painting an unrealistic picture of the recovery process. The key that will unlock the first of many doors is a proper understanding of the complex physical, emotional, and psychological consequences of addiction. An informed sense of empathy combined with love is a powerful weapon to wield in your loved one’s battle against addiction.

The Holistic Sanctuary Can Help Free Your Loved One From the Chains of Addiction

According to their website, the Holistic Sanctuary is “the only licensed, 5-star luxury treatment center in the world that offers the holistic Pouyan method with Sacred Plant Medicine and a treatment protocol which includes a lifetime guarantee (a 12-week Platinum Package Program).”

Their holistic protocol cures PTSD, depression, addiction, alcoholism, eating disorders, and more all without the use of prescription medications or disease model maintenance drugs! The deep level of healing is achieved in utilizing the Pouyan Method by helping to bring the brain back to its pre-addicted state. Check out what a client had to say in this testimonial:

“I can’t thank you enough! I really wish I found you sooner. My life has been so amazing since the moment I started my healing session. The things that held me back in my life seem to not both me as much, they simply don’t matter…”

Here are the top 10 drug addiction myths, opioid crisis myths, and relapse myths. If you are the loved one of an addict, these insights will help to guard you against some common misconceptions.

Myth #1: Your Loved One Can’t Quit Because They Are Weak

Until someone has experienced addiction on a personal scale, they can never hope to completely understand the prison of addiction. It is not simply a matter of willpower as some mistakenly believe. Addiction is first and foremost caused by hereditary factors regardless of the form of addiction. An addict’s abuse of drugs or alcohol, for example, triggers complex chemical changes within the brain which increases cravings and contributes to a plethora of withdrawal symptoms the moment the individual attempts to stop. This is one of many drug addiction myths.

Myth #2: You Should Wait until Someone Hits Rock Bottom Before Seeking Professional Help

Addiction poses a myriad of risks to the individual on many levels which is why it is critical to seek help as soon as possible. By the time an addict hits rock bottom, a patient’s rehab becomes that much more difficult. Talk to your loved one about recovery before it is too late. Addiction is difficult enough without having to face further dire consequences such as impeded education, unemployment, bankruptcy, and a string of broken relationships. Even if an addict rejects your efforts, don’t give up on them. They need your love and support more than ever right now and knowing that you are there for them will result in an increased motivation to continue their treatment.

Myth #3: Rehab Centers Mistreat Patients

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Many people picture a Victorian insane asylum environment when they think of rehab centers, complete with inhumane conditions and abuse on multiple levels. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately, this misconception contributes to millions of Americans avoiding professional treatment when they need it most. Contrary to popular belief, your treatment and therapy plan will be catered to suit your individual needs and you will not be relying solely on pills to recover. There are even holistic rehab centers available where the main focus is placed on your general wellbeing and you will be treated to massages and other forms of holistic therapy.

Myth #4: Punishment Helps Healing

As the loved one of an addict, your rollercoaster of emotions is normal if you are experiencing a sense of sadness, worry, anger, betrayal, confusion, or abandonment. However, the addict is a victim of their addiction at this point, burdened with their own roiling emotions of guilt and helplessness. Punishing the addict will only result in them feeling more isolated and push them deeper into addiction as their reliance on alcohol or drugs increases. At this point, the best way you can support them emotionally is to listen to them. It may even provide healing for you by allowing you to eliminate some misunderstandings. Whatever you do, don’t take an addict’s hurtful actions personally.

Myth #5: The Treatment Works from The First Try

Scientists have come a long way in their understanding of how addiction affects the brain, but the causes of addiction remain an unsolved puzzle. The latest research reveals that addiction is 60% hereditary and 40% lifestyle. The key to unlocking the proper treatment for your loved one’s addiction is understanding the why behind it. No addict is the same and that is why no one approach will be universally effective for all addicts. Some patients respond well to the medication and therapy route while others respond better to a more holistic approach. It is important to have patience until the rehab specialists find the right balance for the individual.

Myth #6: Relapse Equals Failure

The r-word is the most frightening word in the vocabulary of a substance abuser and their loved ones: relapse. Will all their efforts in rehab be erased in one terrible moment months later? Unfortunately, relapse is more common than most people think: according to statistics, up to 90% of patients relapse at least once before going sober. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean they will remain addicted in the long run. One relapse episode can provide the benefit of knowing their triggers so they can wage their battle against addiction with renewed determination.

Myth #7: Addiction Is a Personal Choice

Here is another big drug addiction myth. Addiction is not a choice according to Dr. Susan Holman, an Addictionologist at Willow Place, and a self-described, grateful, recovering alcoholic and addict. She stated at the community forum, “Understanding and Treating the Opioid Epidemic: A Community Forum”, on August 28th, 2018, at AB Tech Madison: “Addiction is a primary neurological brain disease. The fact that it’s a primary disease is important because it means it’s not caused by anything else. Depression doesn’t cause alcoholism… Personality and psychiatric issues are contributory, but not casual. Environment, stress, and/or past trauma are also contributing…nobody chooses this disease.” Holman also revealed that current research proves that 60-70% of the time, an addiction is genetically linked.

Myth #8: Some Drugs Are More Dangerous Than Others

Another common drug addiction myth amongst the American public is that some drugs are more dangerous or fatal than others. However, any drug or substance that leads to addiction and dependency can be dangerous, not just “hard” drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. For example, alcohol is directly responsible for 88,000 deaths a year.

Myth #9: People Can’t Be Addicted to Prescription Drugs

The opioid epidemic is a sad testament to the irony of this drug addiction myth. Prescription medications including oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl can and do cause addiction. Tragically, there were over 72,000 estimated drug-related overdose deaths including opioid overdoses in 2017 alone.

Myth #10: It is Easy to Identify An Addict

Many conjure pictures of “homeless” men when they think of addicts, defining addicts by the traits of low social economic backgrounds, unemployment, and even criminal activity. Substance abusers exist in every walk of life regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, employment, or economic status. Ironically, in cases of heroin use as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who made between $20,000 and $50,000 a year were more likely to show increasing rates of heroin use than people who made less than $20,000 a year.


In conclusion, addiction isn’t a choice, and addicts from all walks of life deserve our compassion, empathy, and assistance. If you are battling an addiction, don’t wait another day to take your life back. If you are the loved one of an addict, don’t lose hope and don't believe drug addiction myths or any other addiction myths. For more information about the Holistic Sanctuary’s revolutionary and exclusive healing methods, please visit their website by clicking here.