Paul LIndemuth

Paul Lindemuth

It is hard to overestimate the impact of addiction on

individuals, families, and communities. It carries burdens of emotion, finances, social support systems, community agencies, healthcare, and even the justice system. 

Although 2021 data isn’t available yet, overdose deaths in Ashtabula County are the highest they’ve been since 2017. Overdoses aren’t the ideal way to measure the extent of addiction, but Ashtabula County has no doubt experienced an addiction epidemic that is not going to end as Covid winds down. 

Unfortunately, widely accepted myths make it harder to fight this epidemic. 

Myth 1: People in Addiction Have no Willpower.

Addiction is a complex chronic disease that isn’t caused by a lack of willpower or discipline. Certain substances change the way the brain works, which can create dependency and intense physical cravings that override logic.

The disease of addiction is caused by a combination of physical, genetic, psychological, and other factors. The medical diagnosis for addiction is “Substance Use Disorder,” and it is often linked to trauma or mental illness. Like any other disease, addiction requires research-based, professional treatment.

Nearly everyone in the U.S. who is diagnosed with heart disease can get treatment. Only about 10% of people with substance use disorder have access to effective treatment.

Myth 2: Only Illegal Drugs are Addictive.

Most people know that drugs such as cocaine, meth, and heroin are highly addictive. Surprisingly, some prescribed medications — such as opioid painkillers — can also be addictive. 

Of course, it’s important to make illicit drugs less

available and do everything we can to ensure that prescription medications are prescribed and used properly. It is even more crucial to ensure high quality, medically-based addiction treatment is widely available and immediately accessible. 

This includes personalized care plans and medication-

assisted treatment when appropriate, as well as social

support to help with transportation, housing, food, job skills, and the like. 

Myth 3: No Insurance, No Treatment.

SUD treatment isn’t only available to people who have insurance. Though some treatment providers accept only commercial or private insurance, others accept all forms — including Medicare, Medicaid, and military insurance. Treatment providers on the front lines of the addiction

epidemic understand that ability to pay shouldn’t determine where a patient goes for help. 

BrightView, an outpatient addiction treatment provider in Ashtabula, also partners with private foundations to make sure everyone can get the care they need, even they’re uninsured and not eligible for Medicaid.  

Myth 4: You Have to Go Away to Recover.

Social media is full of posts about celebrities going to luxury ranches to start recovery. But most people can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars for rehab or a month away. With outpatient care, patients can keep their jobs, continue their daily lives, and actively work on recovery.

Intensive outpatient addiction treatment has been proven as effective as residential rehab for the vast majority of patients. It’s available almost immediately at

local Ashtabula centers that provide a full range of care and services to help people reach

long-term recovery. 

Equally important, limited

capacity at inpatient facilities often means waitlists.

Outpatient addiction treatment clinics usually offer same-day and next day appointments. Many accept walk-ins. 

Myth 5: Tough Love Works.

A common myth is that punishment and shame will force people to recover. Not true. 

According to the National Institute of Health, when

people with addiction are treated harshly, they are more likely to avoid treatment and even increase drug use. Research published in the Psychology of Addictive Behaviors found that empathy, respect, and compassion make addiction therapy more effective. 

BrightView puts this into practice every day, treating

patients with respect and kindness. We recognize that people with substance use disorder have a disease that requires proven treatment, and that compassion, support, and empathy are essential to recovery.

Active addiction wreaks havoc on individuals and their families. Addiction also burdens community services like emergency departments and jails. The good news is that substance use disorder can be treated effectively when myths are dispelled and well-researched care plans are followed. 

I have seen how these myths hurt people, but I’ve also has the privilege of witnessing many people transform their lives through recovery. Addiction is a disease we can treat – and help individuals, families, and the Ashtabula community in the process.

PAUL LINDEMUTH, is the Clinical Supervisor at BrightView’s Ashtabula Addiction Treatment Center. Area residents can call (833) 510-4357 24/7, receive immediate attention at the Ashtabula Center at 2210 S Ridge Rd East in Ashtabula until 3 p.m. weekdays and get more

information at

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