With new prevailing medicine and research studies being done, our generation of experts have finally been able to prove that drug addiction is a brain disease. A disease that should be considered and treated in the same realm as other fatal illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease. Nevertheless, there are still many non-believers out there. Many that hold true to their opinions regarding drug addiction and firmly stand alongside the belief that addiction is a choice. In this article, we will discuss some very common myths regarding substance abuse and what we know to hold no true value in the world of treatment and recovery.
Myth: Drug Addiction Comes Down To Willpower
Many believe that drug and alcohol abuse boils down to willpower and self-control. They think that addicts and alcoholics are weak and choose to be in the position they are in. This is not the case. If drug addiction had anything to do with willpower, fellowships like AA and NA wouldn’t exist, and treatment centers would go out of business. Once a person becomes addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, they give up control over their lives and become a slave to the substance. They are completely powerless.
Myth: Addicts and Alcoholics Have A Choice
Again, many non-believers think that alcoholics and addicts have a choice in the matter of using and abusing drugs. To a certain extent, this is incorrect. Yes, a person has the choice to drink alcohol or experiment with drugs for the first time. They make a conscious decision to do so, even though we are all educated on the dangers of drugs and alcohol in elementary school. But, who doesn’t try a beer at some point in their life, or experiment with pot as a teenager? The difference between an alcoholic/addict and someone who doesn’t get addicted, is what happens to the person’s body and brain after ingestion.
Some people have little to no long-term effects from drugs and alcohol, whereas with addicts, their brains get rewired and their bodies build up a tolerance and physical craving for the substance. Yes, maybe the decided to drink that beer or smoke that joint, but they didn’t decide to have their bodies respond differently, creating an addiction. Many can use/drink without ever becoming addicted, whereas others have underlying factors that increase their potential for drug addiction, such as, genetics, environmental factors, trauma, and psychological/behavioral abnormalities.
Myth: Addicts And Alcoholics Are Easy To Identify
Incorrect. The notion that an alcoholic or addict is homeless, drinking out of a paper bag, and wearing a trench coat is a mere stereotype. The fact is, those addicted to drugs and/or alcohol come in all different shapes and sizes. They could be your athlete son, the nurse who checks your blood pressure at the doctor’s office, the housewife, your local mailman, the police officer who does late-night patrol in your neighborhood, and so on. Drug addiction does not discriminate, it can affect us all equally. Additionally, while some face homelessness or legal consequences, others do not suffer those kinds of consequences. Many of times, they are hiding in plain sight.
Myth: Prescription Drugs Are Safe; Only Illicit Drugs Are Addictive
With the opioid epidemic scouring our country, it should be clear that this myth is entirely that; a myth. Just because a physician prescribed a medication, does not mean it is safe and non-addictive. Many of times, heroin and other addictions begin with a simple prescription. Whether it be Adderall for a diagnosis of ADHD or Vicodin prescribed for a broken arm, they are equally as harmful, and sometimes set the stage for the addiction to more potent drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, or crystal meth.
Myth: Families Cannot Help
Not only can families help themselves when dealing with a loved one’s drug addiction, but they can also help the loved one. While it often requires the guidance of an addictions specialist, there are many steps families and friends can take to help the addict in their life get the treatment and help they need. Although, ultimately, no one can force an addict or alcoholic to enter rehab or seek recovery, there are means that can be taken to improve, or conversely, hamper the situation.
Factors that can ultimately lead a loved one in the direction of seeking help are, encouraging treatment, holding firm rules and boundaries and being consistent with them, educating oneself on addiction, creating consequences and sticking to them. When these steps aren’t taken, or a family member is not consistent with them, that in and of itself can hamper the situation.
Myth: Relapse Means It’s Over
This is not only untrue, but extremely dangerous for the suffering individual. Unfortunately, relapse happens quite often among the recovering community. Sometimes it is the person who has a few months sober, and other times, a person with a decade in recovery will relapse. This doesn’t mean it’s over, it simply means the person made a mistake. It means they are human.
There is always hope, even after a relapse. When people believe that relapse equals failure, family, friends, and the addict start to believe it as well. And as things such as this seem to have a snowball effect, all hope is then lost. Once hope is lost, all bets are off. The suffering individual begins to think nothing else matters, and spirals back into drug addiction
Contact Clearbrook For Drug Addiction Treatment
Unfortunately, there are many myths and stigmas surrounding drug addiction and recovery. While some may think nothing of them, these notions are detrimental in the treatment process and dangerous for a person suffering from the disease of addiction. Both the family and the alcoholic or addict become confused and don’t know what to believe. Many feel overwhelmed and give up trying.
Here at Clearbrook, that is the last thing that we ever want to see. For more than 40 years, we have provided effective quality drug and alcohol treatment, while educating the affected family unit. We have the privilege of witnessing recovery every day, and thus know that there is hope. If you or a loved one is in need of treatment and you are not sure where to turn, we can help. Please contact our Admissions Specialists today. If there are any questions you have or are confused about anything, we will be happy to clarify things for you. Don’t wait any longer, get on the road to recovery today.