We have heard it a million times, and then some:
If you are an addict, you are an addict for life
Some people have the addiction gene
You have to hit rock bottom before you need help
Addicts can quit anytime they want to, they just need to quit using drugs
Sayings such as these are classic examples of the damaging myths about drug addiction that have been the mainstay of conversation for years. Despite changes in how drug addiction is perceived and treated worldwide, the subject of addiction is still plagued by half-truths and misinformation.
These myths surrounding drug addiction not only keep the ongoing stigma surrounding this disease going strong, it can keep addicts away from the drug treatment programs they desperately need to get better.
Confronting the Damaging Myths About Drug Addiction: Taking a Look at Ourselves
We may not like to admit it, but we all have our own ideas of what addiction is and what an addict looks like. We have our views about why they engage in the behaviors they engage in and why they “just can’t quit”.
This is also true for addicts themselves, and unfortunately the views addicts have about themselves makes it difficult to overcome addiction because of the perception of what addiction really is.
In order to start breaking down the walls and be able to change the conversation regarding substance abuse, we need to look at the common and damaging myths about drug addiction and use facts to uncover the real truth.
Debunking Common Myths That Surround Drug Abuse and Addiction
Probably one of the most common myths about addiction is that the addict can stop anytime they want to. Extensive research has shown that long-term drug abuse significantly alters brain chemistry and functioning. These changes cause intense cravings and impulses to use and these behaviors become ingrained in the addict which makes it extremely difficult for them to quit just by sheer willpower alone.
Another common addiction myth is that an addiction gene exists. While current addiction research shows that roughly 50% of addiction tendencies are attributable to genes, it just isn’t genes that can lead to substance abuse. We must also factor in one’s environment and personal experiences into the whole addiction equation.
Perhaps one of the most damaging myths about drug addiction is that addiction is for life. This simply is not true. Like any disease, drug addiction will affect each person different. With treatment, aftercare and support through 12-step groups or other similar sober support groups, many addicts can return to living normal and productive lives.
Another damaging myth about addiction is that addicts who relapse are hopeless and will never get better. Addiction is a chronic disorder and it may take several attempts at treatment before an addict can fully recover. When an addict achieves recovery, he or she understand the roots of their addiction, accepts responsibility for their actions, holds themselves accountable and move forward in working a plan of recovery.
Knowledge Helps Debunk the Myths Of Drug Addiction
Knowledge is a powerful tool that helps to break down the myths and misinformation that surrounds drug and alcohol addiction. Whether you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, or if you are just looking for pertinent information regarding addiction,
Sober Nation provides you with the information and resources you need to be empowered, informed and aware. New articles, blogs and other addiction-related resources are added daily. Visit our website or call us toll-free to speak with one of our experienced staff members. What you need to know about addiction is just a click of the mouse or a phone call away.