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Universal Truths That Can Help Everyone Better Understand Addiction

At what age would you think most illicit drug users start using?

A majority of users start before they're even old enough to vote, according to Robert Scholz, a licensed marriage and family therapist with extensive experience helping individuals and families struggling with addiction.

More than half (54.1%) of the 2.8 million new illicit drug users in 2013 started before age 18. With drug use and addiction starting at such a young age, understanding the myths — and the truths — around this topic is essential to assist affected communities.

Common Myths Around Drug Use and Addiction

  1. Willpower is all one needs to beat addiction
  2. Those with substance use disorders have to hit "rock bottom" before they can get help.
  3. Addiction is a disease. There's nothing you can do about it.
  4. Addiction never ends. Once an addict, always an addict.
  5. People can't force someone into treatment. If treatment is forced, it will fail.

Universal Truths About Drug Use For Church Leaders

  1. Prolonged substance use alters the way the brain works. The brain sends signals of powerful and intense cravings, making it extremely difficult to quit.
  2. Recovery can begin at any point in the addiction process, but earlier is better.
  3. The brain changes can be treated and reversed through therapy, medication, exercise and other treatments.
  4. A high percentage of substance abusers have significant histories of trauma, mental health concerns and relationship problems that also need to be addressed.
  5. Addiction is different in every person — some struggle for years and others manage to respond to treatment faster.
  6. The change process is different for everyone AND usually involves multiple relapses.
  7. People who are appropriately pressured into treatment by others are just as likely to benefit as those who enter treatment voluntarily.

Do any of these truths surprise you? Why or why not?

Find more information, research, and practical steps to address addiction within your church community in our free eBook, available January, 2019. Sign up to be notified when the eBook is available.