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Too Good to Be True: Unmasking Misleading Treatment Information

In a perfect world, the recovery process from addiction would be something we could do in our sleep, leaving us prepared for whatever life has to throw our way when we wake.

In reality, addiction is a complex chronic condition that many lose their battle with each and every year. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accounts for 43,982 people dying from drug-related overdoses. The picture is just as grim for alcoholics. While alcohol overdose comes in lower at around 2,200 deaths annually, per the CDC, other deaths stemming from alcohol use continue to mount. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports 10,322 people died in vehicle accidents where alcohol was a contributing factor in 2012.

How do we escape these tragedies? How does the common addict — trapped in a life of cravings and compulsions — fight this very persistent disease? To date, thorough treatment for addiction that encompasses detox, medical intervention, therapy, and more is deemed the best approach to battling addiction. Why then do others promote the idea of shortcut methods?

Drink Your Way to Sobriety

Believe it or not, some companies are peddling fruit juices and flavored water-based drinks as cures for addiction. They put a lot of funding behind advertisement campaigns that make the process of beating addiction sound effortless, easy, and even enjoyable. What they don’t relay to the customer is the lack of research and science-based evidence to support their claims. To date, there is no proof that these beverages contribute to addiction rehabilitation on any level.

Some unofficial resources for addiction promote treatment schemes like drinking apple juice to cure cocaine addiction. The claims are false, and these methods are a colossal waste of time that could be better spent in treatment programs that are backed by science. Detoxing is far more likely to happen in a professional treatment setting than on your own. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that 222,965 of the 334,782 people aged 12 and older who entered detox in 2011 successfully completed it.

Medicinal Miracles

Some salespersons will try to sell you on the idea that changes in your diet can rid you of your addiction — especially if you buy your supplements from them. These supplements are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Not only are you risking disappointment by taking these pills, but you could be risking your health, too. Not every product is required to undergo such testing, and the FDA doesn’t even apply their regulations to some markets, so saying something isn’t FDA-regulated doesn’t necessarily mean it’s harmful or not beneficial. That being said, making a claim that a product promises to rid you of addiction while not clearly stating how or the mechanics behind it is certainly questionable behavior.

In addition, taking any sort of supplement should generally been done with the supervision of a medical professional. It could be a vitamin B regimen, niacin, magnesium, or a plant-based ibogaine supplements, but whatever the concoction, finding a medical professional who supports the claims these manufacturers make is virtually impossible.

Psychedelics Cure-All

For years, psychedelics have been the subject of many experiments and conversations as a cure for addiction. In theory, it is said that certain psychedelic drugs, like LSD, can rid patients of addictions, like alcoholism, but there isn’t much to go on as to why anyone believes this could work. The evidence to support the claim is fairly minute and shows that any possible effect on substance abuse reduction is not lasting.

One study of six trials that researched the drug as a potential treatment mechanism for alcoholism was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. It notes that while alcoholic behavior was notably less present for those taking LSD — 59 percent versus 38 percent in the non-LSD group — this statistically significant effect was observed six months after treatment and was no longer present at the one-year mark.

Ultra-Rapid Detox

Ultra-rapid detox has been around for years, but promotion for it has increased a great deal in the last few years. From start to finish, these programs promise to sedate you into a restful sleep from which you’ll awaken drug-free. The obvious draw of this is the ability to allegedly avoid experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal, which Healthline states are inclusive of:

  • Restlessness
  • Watery eyes
  • Muscle pain
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiousness
  • Perspiration
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Goose pimples
  • Diarrhea
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Hypertension

Detoxing while asleep can seem ideal to the struggling addict, but it doesn’t come without a cost, and the practice is entirely questionable as to whether it even works. Depressed breathing, flare-ups of mental health disorders, and heart troubles are just a few of the involved risks. Deaths occurred in New York in 2012 and another in Michigan in 2004 due to this method of detox. There were seven deaths in New Jersey over the years due to rapid detox procedures for opioid addicts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Anesthesiology News report.

Rapid detox remains completely legal in the United States so long as it is being performed by a licensed physician, but then again, the prescription opioids that led many to this detox method every year are also legal. USA Today reports the procedures costs as much as $10,000 at some American facilities. Short-term safety and long-term success are not guaranteed.

Home Remedies

The cost of rehab can be high, and many addicts will try to avoid professional treatment by trying their hand at home remedies. An example of a home remedy is using fresh lime slices as an aid to quit cigarette smoking. The Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand actually studied this theory in comparison to nicotine gum and found that it didn’t quite measure up to its historical claims; four weeks into the trial, 38.3se percent of people in the fresh lime group were classified as abstinent from smoking, as compared to 58.5 percent of nicotine gum chewers. In addition, cravings were reportedly more intense for the fresh lime group. Old wives’ tales may be inexpensive, but the time invested in seeing them through is just time for addiction to grow stronger.

Why the Farce?

It’s easy to question companies that market foods and beverages, alternative treatments like rapid detox, and phony supplements as addiction cures. Knowing what we do today about substance dependence, the old adage of something being too good to be true really applies here. When you’re searching for a way out of addiction, you need quality treatment. You need authentic people behind your chosen treatment method who care about results. Unfortunately, manufactured ideas and supplements are nothing more than lackluster attempts to make a few bucks off the struggles of others.

The Reality of Treatment

The search for a quality facility to treat your addiction with reliable procedures that are backed by research and tended to by skilled professionals isn’t one that should be taken lightly. A comprehensive addiction treatment program includes many components that make it whole, the first of which is a thorough intake interview and screening process. Everything from medical and mental health history to your substance abuse practices should be covered at this stage in the game. With a full picture of your problems and diagnoses in mind, a detox plan can be tailored to fit your needs, as well as subsequent therapies and ongoing treatment plans.

The mental health screening component is vital to the long-term success of an addict. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 53 percent of drug addicts and 37 percent of alcoholics also suffer from at least one severe mental health disorder.

While miracle cures promise to get to the heart of your addiction, that isn’t possible without complete medical and mental health care. A quality facility is one that will treat the symptoms of your addiction and the side effects you encounter during withdrawal, but will also explore your past, pain you’ve experienced, and your reasons for engaging in substance abuse. The true cause of addiction is rarely just one event or a single facet of someone’s personality. Rather, it is a complex mixture of events and feelings about your past, present, and future that may include:

  • Childhood traumas
  • Mental illness
  • Parental substance abuse
  • Self-medication to cope with personal insecurities
  • Stress

Most experts agree that there isn’t any legitimate cure for addiction at all. For most, addiction is a lifelong disease. It can be effectively managed but not cured.

Going into rehabilitation expecting to succeed is the best outlook to have, and being prepared for a possible relapse when leaving is just as important. The Los Angeles Times reports 40-60 percent of addicts relapse following treatment. Relapse is a part of reality for many addicts, and those who are prepared for it ahead of time cope far better and have a greater chance of returning to sobriety, too.

Dial our toll-free number today and learn about the many options for treating substance abuse that really do work.