Busting Some Of the Most Infamous Myths Surrounding Addiction
Addiction is something that almost everyone has an opinion about, including those who don’t fully understand it. It is extremely stigmatized, which essentially means that many people judge addiction and believe or spread false information about the subject. Since there are always so many misconceptions floating around regarding this topic, we’ve decided to separate fact from fiction and clear up seven of the most infamous myths about addiction & recovery.
What Is Addiction?
According to The Mayo Clinic, “Addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication.” People can become addicted to substances like alcohol, over-the-counter medicine, prescription medications, and illegal drugs. Not everyone who uses these substances becomes addicted, but occasional use can quickly become misuse or abuse.
When someone abuses a substance, it means that they take more than they should or that they use a substance in a way that isn’t recommended. The only way to tell regular substance use apart from abuse is to determine whether or not the drugs are causing someone harm. If someone begins to experience negative effects from using drugs or alcohol, including physical or mental health complications and issues with a career or social life, it means that they most likely have a substance abuse issue or an addiction.
Addiction can impact every area of a person’s life and can affect absolutely anyone, so it is important to know the truth about substance abuse disorders before making assumptions.
Addiction & Recovery Myths, Debunked
Here are some of the most common myths about substance abuse and recovery, followed by the actual facts about addiction:
Drug addiction is voluntary.
The biggest myth about addiction is that it is a choice, but it has been proven that it’s a disorder because it can change a person’s brain chemistry.
People with addiction need to hit rock bottom to seek help.
In most cases, people don’t seek treatment because they’re ashamed. If you show someone you aren’t judging them and encourage them to get help before they hit rock bottom, they may listen.
Addiction only affects weak people.
When someone uses drugs or drinks alcohol, the reward center in their brain is triggered. For some individuals, the body will begin to crave this feeling. This craving (addiction) can impact absolutely anyone. No matter how “strong” someone is, they could develop an addiction.
You should quit cold turkey.
Do not quit a drug cold turkey if you think you’re dependent on it. Quitting alone can result in dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
Relapse = failure.
People think relapsing means you failed with treatment, but it’s really just a part of the process and happens more often than you’d think. It’s common for people to require several rounds of addiction treatment, just like with any other disease.
MAT switches one addiction for another.
Medically Assisted Therapy (MAT) may utilize prescription drugs like methadone and suboxone. However, these substances work to fight opioid use disorders and curb cravings during withdrawal.
Treatment is too expensive.
There are plenty of budget-friendly options and payment plans available at some treatment centers (as well as free 12 step groups). Many inpatient and outpatient programs are even covered by some types of insurance.
Addiction is just as serious and complicated as any other disease. To fight it, you have to understand what you’re dealing with and receive the appropriate treatment. While it can be hard to beat addiction, it is definitely possible and will be completely worth it.
One important thing for people struggling with addiction to remember is that they are not alone. From their friends and family to members of support groups, there are plenty of people who care about them and can help them along the way.
If you or a loved one are looking to enter into substance abuse treatment, call us today 866-345-2147.