Those battling drug or alcohol addiction tend to feel misunderstood because there are several misconceptions, myths and stereotypes circling the topic of addiction that are simply untrue. But for those who have never battled active addiction, it can be hard to empathize with and understand what’s going on in the mind of someone battling addiction.
The key to debunking these addiction myths is through education – while you may not understand the way drugs manipulate the brain from experience, you can take the time to learn through research and conversation with your loved one, or even an addiction therapist. This will allow you to better grasp the concept of addiction, help your loved one find recovery and know the difference between addiction myth and reality.
Common addiction myths
In order to help wash away some of these preconceived notions about drug addiction, we’ve compiled a list to address some of the most common addiction myths you may have encountered.
1. Anyone who battles addiction is a lost cause
No matter how bad addiction is, there is always help. Even though addiction is a lifelong disease that needs managing for the rest of one’s life, it doesn’t mean that someone who has fought or is fighting addiction is a lost cause.
Every case of addiction is different, and therefore every recovery journey is different, but everyone has the same chance at recovery if they take the right steps. This is why so many addiction treatment facilities exist through the nation. One study showed that of the 1 in 10 people who battled addiction, 75% actively seek recovery. So while addiction definitely has its lows, it hardly equates to being a lost cause.
2. For recovery to work, you must hit rock bottom
This is 100% not true. While many individuals do hit rock bottom before they realize the addiction is a problem beyond their control, there are also many who seek out addiction recovery well before this occurs. Plus, rock bottom is different for each person. For some, it might mean jail time or overdose; for others, it might be becoming homeless or losing the trust and love of family.
No matter what rock bottom looks like, those battling addiction don’t have to reach that point in order to seek help. There is no “right time” for rehab or recovery.
3. People choose their addiction
People don’t choose their addiction just like they don’t choose to come down with the flu. While there are definitely situations you can put yourself in that will make you more likely to get the flu (being around sick individuals, not sleeping, etc.), not everyone in those situations will get sick.
The same goes for addiction – while there are many who can take a prescription medication or try drugs for the first time and walk away, there are those that simply cannot. That doesn’t mean that they chose to become addicted. No one would choose that. Addiction occurs because of a physical change in our brain. There are neurological alterations that cause us to crave these substances.
So while we might choose to try drugs in the first place, or even elect to take opioid pain medication, we never wake up one morning and choose addiction. It’s a psychological and physical change that occurs as a result of the chemicals now present in the body’s system.
4. Anyone battling addiction knows what they’re doing
As mentioned previously, addiction causes physical changes in the brain. One key impact is the way in which these drugs prompt compulsive actions and inhibit decision making capabilities. Plus, brains compromised by drugs believe that our bodies need them in order to survive.
Additionally, denial is often a huge part of addiction, as no one wants to admit the problem is beyond their control. Making choices under the influence of drugs is much more convoluted than when our brains are drug-free. Most of the time, those struggling aren’t aware they are making bad choices because their brains are neurologically altered to think doing drugs is the right thing.
5. Love and support should be enough to cure addiction
If that was the case, curing addiction could be a relatively simple fix – but sadly, no matter how loving and supportive one’s family and friends are, it doesn’t change the fact that addiction is a real disease that requires intensive care. It should be stated that the support and care of one’s community is a crucial aspect to overcoming addiction. But full recovery requires the determination of the individual to find and persevere through treatment as well.
Getting help for addiction
If you, or someone you know, is suffering from a substance abuse problem, it’s time to get help. While it’s easy to believe that you are alone in this struggle, this addiction myth only seeks to keep you captive longer. But help and freedom are available. Contact Freedom Detox by calling (704) 610-4378 or get in touch with us online today to learn more about our medical detox programs.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as medical advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a doctor-patient relationship.