Understanding 8 Myths About Addiction
Chances are you have heard myths about addiction, but not all of these myths are accurate. While many of us can make professional or personal choices and face minimal consequences, there are many stigmas for someone who has battled an addiction to overcome.
Getting and staying sober is very challenging, but with the right support network and tools, it's completely attainable.
To accurately understand substance abuse, most people want the disease explained in easy answers. Unfortunately the myths out there make it more difficult for others to feel empathy for those faced with the challenges of overcoming addiction.
Here are eight of the more common myths that are told regarding addiction:
Those who suffer from addiction lack willpower, or they could stop if they really wanted to. When someone has an addiction involving a powerful substance, their body becomes dependent on that chemical substance in order to feel normal. The addiction may have a devastating consequence on that individual’s life and those around him or her. The brain will also undergo physical challenges from the repeated abuse of the substance and that will impair the person’s ability to control their decision-making and behavior. These changes will worsen throughout the addiction and will affect the individual’s ability to exercise willpower or a conscious choice.
Being addicted indicates that the individual lacks morals. There are highly detailed scientific aspects of addiction. While someone has an initial choice to drink alcohol or use drugs, they don’t have a conscious intent to become addicted. Some states allow the use of marijuana or alcohol, so morals or laws aren’t violated. Some people can use these substances often without suffering an addiction, but research has indicated that for others their brains change with each use, which leads to a stronger dependence on the drug.
People believe that they can tell an addict when they see one. Anyone can become addicted. Age, socioeconomic status, background, or culture doesn’t play a role, so the stereotypes extend misinformation on many levels. Here are some examples of the stereotypical images people have painted – his father was an alcoholic so she must be; he’s a criminal and poor so he is on drugs; anyone who uses drugs is an addict; anyone who is taking prescription drugs cannot become addicted; and if she can go to work, she isn’t addicted. Addiction doesn’t discriminate and everyone is susceptible.
People have the tendency to think that once you are addicted to something you will always be addicted. These same folks think a relapse means failure and that there will always be problems with substance abuse. With the right treatment, that individual can overcome their addiction and lead a normal, productive life. The recovery process can be lengthy, but it is possible.
Treatment doesn’t work, and rehab centers are of no benefit. This isn’t true because addiction can be treated, and addiction treatment centers were designed to help individuals overcome substance abuse and more toward wellness as a whole person. Rehab uses an approach to address the emotional, mental and physical challenges while in a safe and comfortable environment. Rehabilitation, along with the support of friends and family, is very effective.
If it was prescribed, then it must be safe. Many people still think that if it is prescribed by a doctor then it is not addictive, but that is far from the truth. While there are many medications that are safe when taken at prescribed dosages for a short time-frame, there are some that can be dangerous and addictive when used for prolonged periods of time.
Those with a high alcohol tolerance don’t have drinking problems. If an individual can have several drinks and not feel anything, then they do have a problem. If a casual drinker could finish several beers – such as 8 or 10 – he would feel sick. If you can drink that much and still feel okay, then you should seek help for alcohol addiction.
If you are maintaining a job and have a stable family life, you can’t be addicted. You could still have a job or a career, and a loving family, but still, be addicted to drugs or alcohol. There are physicians, attorneys, and other professionals in recovery who had successful careers for years while nobody noticed they were suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. If you have a job, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem. Sometimes your supervisor and family are more tolerant, or you have a career that is more lenient toward drug and alcohol use.
Seek Help in Recovery
Don’t let the myths about addiction keep you from getting the help that you need. If you suspect that you or a loved one is facing drug or alcohol addiction, you should seek assistance from a trusted rehabilitation center right away.
Addiction cannot be solved alone. It takes intensive care and the help of skilled rehab professionals to help you overcome your addiction and get your life back on the right track. To learn more about drug addiction treatment options that can truly help you, contact SpringBoard Recovery today.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://archives.drugabuse.gov/exploring-myths-about-drug-abuse
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/04/addressing-stigma-surrounds-addiction
- WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/substance-abuse#1
- Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/science/chemical-dependency
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drugs-brain
- The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/02/health/26essa.html
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://easyread.drugabuse.gov/content/what-relapse
- Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/the-four-stages-of-alcohol-and-drug-rehab-recovery-67869
- Good Rx: https://www.goodrx.com/drug-guide
- CBS News: https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/14-facts-about-drinking-are-you-misinformed/6/