Most Common Misconceptions about Addiction

Most Common Misconceptions about Addiction

Although we now know more about addiction than ever before, there are still many misconceptions about substance use disorders even among informed people.

There have been significant advancements in understanding the disease of addiction, addiction treatment and research, but a lack of understanding of the chronic disease of addiction creates barriers, preventing individuals suffering from substance use disorders from accessing treatment in a timely manner. Additionally, many of these antiquated preconceptions about addiction continue to stigmatize the disease and make people from addiction ashamed of their condition.

Let’s take a look at a few of them:

1.  Addiction is a behavioral or moral issue:

One of the most common misconceptions about addiction is that it is essentially a behavioral problem or a moral failure. Consequently, it is assumed that people who use drugs or alcohol can stop if they really want to. Addiction is a chronic brain disease, and quitting drug or alcohol use on your own is not only extremely tough, but could also be dangerous!

Addictive substances stimulate dopamine production in the brain at ten times the rate of other pleasurable activities such as eating food, indulging in hobbies or engaging in sex. After a period of substance use, the brain’s reward system is altered – the brain stops producing dopamine in response to regular stimuli and instead waits for cues from drugs or alcohol to release a rush of dopamine. This creates dependence as the individual may not feel normal due to the lack of release of dopamine. Many individuals with addiction issues  also suffer from mental health issues, which can exacerbate their addiction. The best way to overcome addiction is to seek effective treatment by consulting with addiction therapists in NJ.

2.  Medications prescribed by a physician is not addictive :

Among the fallacies about drug or alcohol addiction, those involving prescription medicines are the hardest to correct. The myth is that medications prescribed by doctors are harmless and cannot lead to dependence because they are legal and prescribed by a doctor for a genuine ailment. Tragically, that’s not true, as evidenced by the opioid epidemic caused substantially by prescribed pain killers. Prescription medications are highly addictive and, if misused, can be lethal.

In 2014, an estimated 1,700+ young Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 overdosed on prescription medications, with prescription medicines having the highest overdose rate of any drug for that age range. Not only can these substances be highly addictive if overused, but stopping prescription painkillers can be dangerous, as relapse after a short period of abstinence could lead to overdose. Consequently, it is highly advisable that stopping use of prescription painkillers should only be attempted under the direction of medical professionals or detox facilities as other medications, such as buprenorphine, Suboxone or Subutex can be introduced to address withdrawal symptoms and cravings, which help prevent relapse.

3. Alcoholism is less severe than drug addiction

People assume that alcohol abuse is not as dangerous as drug addiction, as it is socially acceptable to drink alcohol. Alcoholism may take over a person’s life and have significant negative consequences on physical health, finances and mental health. In 2015, 15.1 million adults in the United States suffered from alcohol use disorder, and 88,000 Americans died each year from alcohol-related causes. Alcoholism should not be treated lightly, and individuals who are addicted to alcohol should get help as soon as possible.

Also, it is not advisable to quit drinking alcohol after a period of heavy use without medical supervision. Alcohol withdrawal can be severe and with negative medical consequences. Alcohol withdrawal could lead to seizures, stroke, or even death.

4. SUD Patients Aren’t Productive Members of Society

Conventional stereotypes of individuals suffering from addiction paints a picture of a dysfunctional individual who does not possess the qualities of an ideal employee! They are believed to have low morals and questionable behavior. They are also believed to be criminals, as frequently portrayed on television and in films.

While some people do fit this picture and are unable to work or perform basic daily duties, most individuals suffering from addiction work, support their families, and even have lively social lives. Most themselves do not believe they are addicted, and some that do, find it tough to speak about their dependence. Consequently, they are ambivalent about accessing addiction treatment, which serves to intensify their addiction.

5. Medication Assisted Treatment, or MAT, is Drug-for-Drug Replacement

Research shows that medication assisted treatment, or MAT, saves lives and improves outcomes. Despite that fact there are many, including addiction treatment professionals, that MAT is just drug-for-drug replacement and not treatment. Many individuals believe that those who want to overcome addiction must quit “cold turkey” and maintain their recovery by a “white-knuckling” strategy or by using their will power to resist cravings. This has been proven to be a dangerous strategy, as even a short period of abstinence lowers tolerance levels and increase the chances of overdose in the event of relapse.

6. There is Only One Treatment for Addiction.

What worked for one person, may not work for another. Multiple options are needed in order to offer individualized treatment. Each person requires a unique treatment plan. While the incumbent inpatient detox model may work for some, outpatient detox is preferred by most people who need detoxification from drugs or alcohol. The need for customized treatment to suit individual needs cannot be overemphasized as it increases compliance and leads to better outcomes.


Rehabs in NJ offer help if you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, whether it’s to prescription painkillers, heroin or fentanyl. Those struggling with opioid use disorder can receive medication-assisted treatment, as well as counselling and other assistance. If you’re thinking about talking to a loved one about their addiction, reach out to us right away to learn more about our treatment options that are more flexible and lowers resistance to treatment from individuals suffering from substance use disorders.


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Addiction Expert Dr. Indra Cidambi Shares Tips on How to Help Children Affected by Addiction

NEW JERSEY-Our country is in the middle of a drug epidemic and, as per SAMHSA, 1 in 4 children in the United States is exposed to alcohol abuse or dependence in the family. More children are living in families with an illegal substance or prescription medication abuse. Leading addiction expert, Indra Cidambi, M D. says, “It is important to address the impact on children of parental substance abuse because such children have a predisposition to behavioral problems and abusing drugs or alcohol themselves~ They also could have more problems in school or social relationships.”

“Explaining the behaviors of an addicted adult or telling a child that a parent is going away for treatment, separating from the family or, even worse, has passed away is one of the most difficult conversations to have with a child,” says Dr. Cidambi. Children of addicts experience physical or emotional abuse and neglect, domestic violence, lack of boundaries or inconsistent messages about right and wrong “It will break anyone’s heart to have such a conversation with an innocent child,” says Dr. Cidambi who has been treating families dealing with a loved one’s addiction for over a decade. “However, the bright side is that these children can overcome the damage from a flawed environment with help.” She suggests some steps that will help children cope with, and eventually overcome they’re less than an optimal living situation.

1. Help them understand the situation.

Children are aware that things are not normal, but they may be confused. They need to understand that their parent is “sick” with a disease – alcoholism or addiction to drugs – and help them make sense of their parent’s behavior. “Having an insight into their parent’s behavior will add to their resilience,” says Dr. Cidambi.

2. Make it clear that it is not their fault.

Children tend to blame themselves for their parents’ behavior as they hear statements from their parent(s) that blame them for things being the way they are – for example, “If only I could have some peace and quiet, I would not feel the need to drink.” It is critically important to let children know, repeatedly if needed, that their parents’ addiction is not their fault.

3. Help them express their feelings.

“Children of people suffering from substance use disorders learn not to talk honestly, and discount, minimize and rationalize their feelings,” says Dr. Cidambi. They need to know that they are not alone and that it is ok to feel the way they feel, share their feelings and learn to express their feelings appropriately, including anger. Repressing their feelings could eventually lead to behavioral problems.

4. Facilitate problem-solving

Children who live with parents using substances are often left to fend for themselves. “They may come back to an empty home, and may have to fix a meal for themselves and their siblings and sometimes they may face neglect,” says Dr. Cidambi. Educating these children about the range of options available to them helps them better cope with their situation.

5. Link them to supportive individuals.

“Identifying and connecting these children to significant people in their lives who can provide a sense of belonging and acceptance is crucial,” says Dr. Cidambi. Such people could help the child to not have to act out a survival role~ It could be a grandparent, an uncle or an aunt. Linking them to support groups such as Alateen may also be helpful.

6. Help a Child, Be a Child

Children whose parent(s) suffer from substance use disorders often grow up quickly. However, a child is not an adult and they need an opportunity to have fun and act like children. Keeping them busy and keep them laughing. Let them know that there is more to life than their experience behind closed doors.

Providing a chance for children affected by families dealing with addiction a chance to heal is one of the best gifts they can receive at this stage in their lives. The above tips can help a child trapped in a family affected by substance use to overcome their circumstances and lead normal lives.


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Chicago’s leading newspaper, sought out CNT’s Medical Director’s expertise to identify the difference between “moderate” and “heavy” alcohol consumption and suggest ways to cutback.

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Alcohol addiction does not discriminate – people of every race and every social strata are equally susceptible, as genetics plays a role in addiction! It is important to realize that addiction to any substance is not a behavioral problem that needs to be punished. While the initial experimentation with drugs or alcohol is a choice, it may spiral out of control for some who are more susceptible than others. The reason they lose control of their behavior is because changes in the brain make the brain dependent on alcohol or drugs to release the pleasure neurotransmitter, called dopamine. Previous to getting addicted, the brain released appropriate amounts of dopamine in response to usual stimuli such as food, hobbies, or sex. Since the brain now has become used to getting an external stimuli to release huge quantities of dopamine, it responds minimally to stimuli that were previously pleasurable.

Alcohol dependence destroys lives, irrespective of whether one is rich or poor, black or white, live in Bernardsville, Plainfield or Manalapan, New Jersey. So, when a person has been afflicted by the disease of addiction, but has a strong desire to achieving long-term sobriety and living a drug- or alcohol-free life, they must make a commitment to recovery by engaging in addiction treatment and following through with self-help groups such as AA and NA.

It is important for loved ones of people suffering from addiction to remember that addiction is not always a choice. As mentioned earlier, addiction has a genetic component, so, sometimes, people who intend to only use alcohol in moderate quantities for recreational purposes, assuming that they will not get addicted may be in for a rude awakening. Alcohol addiction also ensnares individuals using alcohol to self-medicate for mental health issues, or numb themselves to relationship issues.

Fortunately, there are many options for alcohol treatment in New Jersey, whether you live in Westfield, Plainsboro, Princeton or Marlboro. Many family members struggle to convince loved ones abusing alcohol to first recognize that they have a problem, because people in the throes of alcohol addiction seldom accept that they have a problem. Such denial is common in the case of alcohol because it is a legal substance enjoyed by millions of people around the world in moderation.

Loved ones of those addicted seek help for their loved ones by having them interact with an addiction treatment professional, Be it a therapist in Freehold, a psychiatrist in Union or addiction treatment center in Middlesex. enter treatment at some level so that go through the various recovery steps when they partner with an alcohol treatment center in NJ. One of the biggest fears individuals dependent on drugs or alcohol always have is that of facing withdrawal. Oftentimes, they have tried to stop abusing their drug of choice but have given up in the face of severe withdrawal symptoms, and resumed using. Consequently, they need repeated assurance that their withdrawal symptoms will be effectively addressed, or minimized.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be severe: abdominal pain, body aches, irritability, nausea and vomiting to name a few. Alcohol withdrawal can also be dangerous: it can include seizures and stroke! The longer the treatment in a rehabilitation center is postponed the more serious is the alcohol addiction and more intense and dangerous the withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol is “central nervous system depressant.” Your brain activity will begin to slow down when you are, “under the influence.”

Patients who willingly enter alcohol withdrawal treatment in New Jersey, have finally accepted that they have become dependent on alcohol and hope addiction treatment helps them regain control of their lives and salvage their relationships. All rehabilitation program, not just in New Jersey, will likely focus on triggers first so the therapist gains knowledge of how to treat the patient and understand how they became addicted. Also, it will help the therapist customize a treatment plan for the patient that is tailored to their needs. As they move along the spectrum of care, the therapist will also be able to individualize coping mechanisms and relapse prevention techniques.

As one of Center for Network Therapy’s patients aptly said, “Addiction treatment may not open the gates of heaven to welcome you, but it will definitely unlock the gates of hell to let you out!”

Long-term alcohol addiction can cause serious health problems such as liver cirrhosis, cardiovascular disease and even certain types of cancer.

Seeking addiction treatment, entering recovery and staying on the path to sobriety is never easy, but it is very rewarding! Repaired relationships, health lifestyle, rewarding career paths and other benefits follow incentivizing them to stay on the recovery path. This is why it is important that loved ones of those addicted make every effort to get them enrolled in a high-quality addiction treatment program that is flexible to adapt to the person’s needs. Recovery from an addiction to alcohol is possible and sustainable!

So, if you or someone you know suffers from addiction, please make an effort to find effective treatment in New Jersey and get them to enter recovery.


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Recovery @ CNT: Brian’s Story of Addiction Treatment

Brian’s childhood was no different from a million other kids – he grew up in a quiet suburban town; he played soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. In his teenage years, he found he had a talent for music and became adept at the guitar, the bass and the piano.

He first tried alcohol at 13 from a friend’s parent’s minibar. After avoiding pot for a while, he did try it finally, at a party and started drinking to the point of blacking out. Brian kept his grades up and he was smart, smart enough to get a full college scholarship.

He got his first pain pills as tips after he delivered pizza delivery job and he fell in love with the high it gave him- it made him feel more confident, and more creative, even though he would forget half of the songs he wrote when he was high. His frequency of use increased to the point where he was snorting pills before class in school bathrooms.

But soon he found out that it cost a lot of money to get high and someone told him there was a cheaper alternative, heroin. At first he started borrowing money, then started to steal. His parents kicked him out the house and he slept in motels and on strangers’ sofas. He was shooting 20-30 bags of heroin a day, smoking crack and snorting cocaine.

That’s when his mother and girlfriend at the time suggested the Center for Network Therapy, an addiction treatment center on Cedar Avenue in Middlesex, NJ to get a grip on his opiate addiction and get over his fear of withdrawal from opiates. He told them he would give it a shot, but he had no faith it was going to work. Brian was stoned for his first therapy session with Dr. Indra Cidambi and several other individuals with substance use disorder. And then Dr. Cidambi said goodnight, and everyone left. What was going on? No other treatment program let participants leave in the evening. Brian was terrified; he didn’t trust himself. Would he use the minute he walked out the door?

“That night I went to the movies with my girlfriend. I went to the bathroom and shot up. And I remember thinking, ‘Why am I doing this? This s–t is getting so old. I walked in the next day and announced to everyone, ‘I used last night. I’m ready to get clean.'”

A different kind of addiction therapy

“The thing is, we don’t view relapses as setbacks here,” said Dr. Cidambi, MD, who is board-certified in psychiatry and addiction medicine. “I try to make every relapse a learning experience: How did you relapse? What made you do this? We talk about it, and the patient often says, ‘I see how I could have stopped myself, I see that this was the trigger.’ If they learn from a relapse, they’ve achieved a step forward.” The Center, or CNT as its called, is also unique because it is not an overnight in-patient facility. At the end of each day, patients leave and are expected to return in the morning for more talk therapy. “You go back and sleep in your own bed. It gives you autonomy. That way, you make the decision every single day whether you want to come back again, whether you want to continue treatment or not,” Dr. Cidambi said. Brian called it “the ultimate test.”

“It made me realize if you’re serious about getting clean, you can go home and stay away from temptation. That’s when I finally realized I was really ready to get sober this time,” he said.

“These people really do not know how to be sober. Nobody recognizes this. I tell them they learned how to shoot drugs and they are smart enough to unlearn that behavior. They recognize, ‘I am not a bad person. I am just an addict. I can overcome this,” says Dr. Cidambi.

It worked for Brian. He’s been clean more than a year. You can hear the pride in his voice when he says the date he became sober. “CNT taught me you can’t get clean for your kids, your parents or your wife,” he said. “You have to do it for you. You have to get clean for yourself.”

Now 28, he works as a cable technician. He still takes 1 milligram of Suboxone a day, a drug that is supposed to control cravings and block opiate receptors in his brain. But he is trying to get off it completely. He attends twelve-step meetings several times a week, which he said really helps.

“I’ve built up a network of people who are staying clean,” he said. “I got back into writing music. I’m rebuilding relationships with people I hurt. I’m going on hikes. Little by little, I’m learning how to enjoy things in life that used to make me happy, and still make me happy.”

But the specter of heroin is never far away. Often, it’s right down the block.

“I would guess there are 5-6 heroin dealers in Middlesex right now. You don’t have to go to Newark or Bloomfield to get it anymore, because there are people who have it five minutes away. It’s getting more accessible and the kids are getting younger who try it,” he said. “It’s a virus.” Ambulatory Detox gives an individual an opportunity to learn to remain sober in their home environment rather than being isolated from it.

About CNT: The Center for Network Therapy (CNT), a seven-year-old substance abuse treatment program and ambulatory (outpatient) detox facility in Middlesex, NJ and it employs unique approaches to treat addiction and offers drug and alcohol detoxification – CNT offers alcohol detoxification, benzodiazepines (“benzos”) detoxification, opiate (pain pills, heroin, methadone) detoxification, as well as detoxification from buprenorphine. CNT offers a safe environment to deal with opiate withdrawal, alcohol withdrawal and benzo withdrawal. The program utilizes medication-assisted treatment, such as suboxone (buprenorphine), to help ease withdrawal symptoms.


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