It’s common knowledge that the United States is facing an opiate drug epidemic. In fact, opiates were responsible for 42,249 overdose deaths in 2016. And that number continues to rise yearly.

But with all the talk about opiate addiction and overdoses, comes some miscommunication. There are many untruths out there about opiate addiction that need to be cleared up.

Read on to learn about the top five myths about opiate addiction.

1. Opiate Addiction Starts with Prescriptions

Most people are quick to assume that opiate addiction starts at the doctor’s office. But, less than thirty percent of chronic-pain patients become addicted to opiates.

Those who do become addicted tend to have a history of drug abuse or addiction.

The misconception comes from addicts who doctor jump to obtain opiate prescriptions. Addicts will attempt to get prescriptions by feigning chronic pain to avoid drug withdrawal symptoms.

2. Addicts Are Losers with No Willpower

People often stereotype addicts as losers with no willpower. Often times, people think of incarceration as the proper response to an addicts struggle. But addiction can happen to anyone.

Addiction is a medical problem, like diabetes or high blood pressure, and should be treated as such. Addiction is essentially a substance use disorder.

You should never stereotype an addict because of their illness.

3. Opiates Are the Only Way to Treat Chronic Pain

While opiates do treat chronic pain, the associated possibility of addiction isn’t worth the risk. Many doctors are quick to prescribe opiates but research all your options before accepting a prescription.

If you’re suffering from chronic pain, turn to these options instead of opiates:

  • Physical therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Non-opiate pain relievers
  • Cannabinoids

Opiates should always be your last resort for pain management. If you do take opiates, take as little as possible to manage the pain for a short amount of time.

4. Addiction Is All in Your Head

Addiction includes mental aspects but it also has physical components. While the addiction begins in your brain it quickly takes over your whole body.

In particular, many of the withdrawal symptoms are physical and very hard to overcome on your own. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Racing heart
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

Because of these symptoms, you should combat opiate withdrawal with a professional treatment plan.

5. Medication Treatment Furthers Addiction

Many people think that medication treatment for addiction is only furthering addiction. But due to the intense withdrawal symptoms of opiates, recovery isn’t likely without medical treatment.

Methadone or Suboxone are the most common medications used to battle addiction. Medical professionals prescribe these drugs like any other medication. These drugs relieve the cravings and withdrawal symptoms to make recovery achievable.

These drugs will come with a treatment plan for long-lasting recovery.

Beyond Opiate Addiction Myths

Once you get past the myths of opiate addiction, you realize that it is a serious problem.

The first step towards overcoming addiction is seeking treatment. Sagebrush provides addiction treatment to addicts in Northern Virginia. They provide both residential and outpatient treatment plans to fit your needs.

Contact Sagebrush today for a confidential assessment.