5 Common Myths About Addiction

There are many parents that enter into recovery for their children’s sake. The important thing is that they are supported, accepted, and capable of change. Factors like genetics and the environment in which a person grows up can play a large role in future addictive behaviors. Drugs and alcohol can impact the structure of a person’s brain from their first usage. As they continue to use substances, the drug rewires the brain until it believes it can no longer function without it. Some people are skeptical about using a prescription drug to treat a physical dependence caused by a drug. However, these medications are considered an essential tool in reducing the chances of a patient causing harm to themselves or someone else during the withdrawal process.

While making a significant life change can provide temporary relief from addiction, it’s not a permanent fix. Most of the time, people turn to drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms. So, the stress from moving away from everyone you know, getting a new job, or going to college can be enough to cause a person to return to bad habits. Some people believe that because alcohol is legal and many people drink, it’s not as dangerous as illegal drugs. However, alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs available.

  • Substance abuse causes a physiological change in the brain.
  • They could be following their treatment program and be in recovery for years, but relapse can occur at any time.
  • Detoxification is an important first step on the road to recovery, but it doesn’t stop there.
  • Prescription drugs like ADHD medication or narcotic pain medication can be and are abused if not taken under a doctor’s supervision.
  • Also, people who’ve struggled with addiction often enter rehab with gaps in employment and other financial hardships.

A support system of family and friends is vital to an addict’s recovery. For added help and to learn more about discussing addiction in the family system properly, friends and family members should attend support groups such as Al-Anon. Medically Assisted Therapy may utilize prescription drugs like methadone and suboxone. However, these substances work to fight opioid use disorders and curb cravings during withdrawal.

If a loved one isn’t ready to begin treatment, at least they are aware of the option to get better, so don’t wait to express your concerns. Thankfully, years of research now more accurately proves addiction is a disease.

The Most Common Myths About Addiction

Many addicts function in a regular life and can even lead very successful lives. High-functioning addicts like this are masters at covering their tracks so that their addiction goes unnoticed. This is especially dangerous because it makes it much more difficult for friends and family to intervene before it is too late. This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders.

Globally, nearly 3 million people die each year due to the harmful effects of alcohol, which represents 5.3% of all deaths. Consuming too much alcohol can lead to overdoses, and people addicted can actually die from withdrawal. This drug also negatively affects the body’s kidneys, liver, stomach, and even the brain. Actually, alcoholism kills more people than any other substance. As many families have come to understand, painfully, all the love and support in the world may not be enough to keep a loved one from becoming an addict.

myths about addiction and recovery

Developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you heal from the effects of addiction, physically and emotionally. This refutes the logic of the common “tough love” approach to treating addiction. People often believe that cutting addicts out of their lives or putting them in jail will help them to realize that change needs to occur, but this harsh treatment can often exacerbate the problem. Gentler approaches are more effective at helping addicts, while pushing them away may result in even more extreme behavior.

Myth: Those With Substance Use Disorders Sud Have To Hit “rock Bottom” Before They Can Get Help

You’ll have time to yourself and, as your program progresses, you may even be able to have visits with loved ones. You could also consider outpatient programsmade to let you maintain your independence while seeking addiction recovery treatment. If you cannot sleep or function normally without drugs or alcohol in your system, you are addicted to a substance.

myths about addiction and recovery

The Sheriff’s office will then bring in the individual for an involuntary assessment. The Marchman Act can result in court ordered treatment of sixty-ninety days and can be extended if necessary. Many county court systems are also offering individuals the opportunity to choose addiction treatment to avoid jail time.

Myth #1: Addiction Is A Choice

Professional treatment is critical when dependence forms. Whether you are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction or it is someone you love, knowing the truth about this condition is critical. Consider a few of the most common myths that often hold people back. For centuries, addiction has been seen as a moral failing. The common belief has been that those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol simply aren’t strong enough to overcome it. Some people believe that there is something inherently wrong with a person who struggles with addiction. Opioid use disorder, which includes addictions to heroin and prescription pain medications, may be treated with medications like methadone.

There are free 12-step support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, as well. Many think loved ones will think less of them, it will affect their status at work, or their friends will judge them for their addiction. But this is all miniscule when it comes down to your health and ultimately, the quality of life you are living. Keeping a secret is a huge psychological burden and takes quite the effort to maintain. Letting your friends and family see changes in you without any context is difficult on both ends. Letting them know what is going on opens the door to beneficial support. Sometimes people have a lot more empathy than you’d think.

At Gateway, we use Suboxone or Vivitrol instead when necessary. In some cases, these symptoms can be so uncomfortable that a person will seek to return to their addiction simply to ease their pain.

Sending someone to jail for abusing a substance is like sending someone seeking treatment for depression to jail. At the end of their prison sentence, they are no better off than when they went in. Addiction is a disease; an addict is not a bad person he or she is a sick person. Someone who is addicted to a substance may do some things that are considered bad, or questionable to most people, but that doesn’t make him or her a bad person. In their mind, addiction might not be a problem until there’s a severe consequence. Most importantly, it’s not necessary to wait until hitting rock bottom to get help. Deciding to continue using until you hit rock bottom can make the road to recovery harder in the end.

  • It’s best to be aware of the truth behind addiction and how it affects those suffering from it.
  • When people picture an addict, they picture a perpetuated stereotype of a disgraceful person with no goals in life.
  • What if the many influential business leaders, inspirational artists, best-selling authors, and history-making politicians who join the ranks of recovering addicts were shamed into silence?
  • Since doctors prescribe prescription drugs, they certainly can’t be that addictive, right?
  • It isn’t until some time has passed in addiction treatment that the individual sees the promise of recovery.

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.

Contact Windward Way Recovery

The bad news is that addiction is a progressive and relapsing disease. The good news is that it is treatable and not a question of willpower. For generations, addiction has been widely regarded as a moral failing or a lack of willpower in addressing the problem. Perhaps the most enduring of all addiction-related myths myths about addiction and recovery is the notion that someone needs to completely collapse before pursuing treatment. They tackle the issue of promoting sobriety by vilifying and stigmatizing drug use – without understanding the context, circumstances or reasons behind drug use. It’s rather obvious that an active addict can’t be the best caretaker.

  • Recovery is a comprehensive process that requires extensive treatment, and that treatment should include physical care, psychological counseling, and spiritual development.
  • At one time, we believed that most addicts had one drug of choice and stuck with it.
  • It’s a common notion to assume that addicted individuals just lack the willpower to overcome their drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Holding on to these addiction myths cause damage to lives of those who are struggling.
  • If you’re ready to change your life and explore the options for addiction treatment, we are ready to help!
  • A support system of family and friends is vital to an addict’s recovery.

Some supplement their primary drug of choice with whatever is readily available (e.g., using prescription opiates and heroin interchangeably). This can’t last forever, but in many cases, loved ones don’t find out about the problem until it has completely spiraled out of control. High-functioning addicts may be able to function https://ecosoberhouse.com/ for a while, but in the end, the truth always makes itself known. You don’t have to like or respect drug addicts to understand that it’s important to stay current on addiction science if we’re ever going to beat addiction as a problem in society. And one of the best ways to achieving that is by busting a few simple myths.

Mental Health

The thought was, if we punish people for using drugs, they will stop. These decisions were the start of people judging those who struggle with addiction as criminals. As a society, we are taught to believe they are criminals. Research shows that substance abuse rewires the brains pathways, making the brain think that it needs the substance to sustain life. This is where the strong cravings and lack of impulse control comes from. We’ve got 10 crazy addiction myths that you need to know, and we’re going to match them up with the truth. If you’ve tried treatment before, that does not mean it is time to give up.

It’s best to get help when you recognize substance abuse symptoms, not waiting until you see the bottom. Those who struggle with addiction don’t see they have a problem until it’s too late. For others, rock bottom is the first time they get arrested for a DUI.

Addiction often co-occurs with other mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder , etc. For successful addiction treatment, the co-occurring psychiatric disorder must be treated. Simply detoxing from substances and trying to abstain from use does not work long-term, because of the mental obsession that is characteristic of addiction. Despite the absence of the substance in the body, the individual experiences a constant mental obsession related to the substance use. Without proper treatment, the cognitive distortions that they experience as the result of the obsession lead to relapse. People believe that drug and alcohol addiction are signs of weakness or indications that an individual is a bad person. Just like mental health, addiction occurs quickly and impacts every facet of a person’s life.

Myth #7 addicts Lack Willpower

Leading experts agree that substance abuse is a chronic disease much like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. And there are many reasons people struggle with addiction. Circumstances such as mental illness, trauma, and genetics can play a role, and it can happen to anyone. As we mentioned, when drug addiction is present, the brain has been chemically altered, which makes it hard for a person to control impulses. So, even if they want to quit taking drugs or drinking, they cannot. Addiction is a disease and has very little, if anything, to do with willpower.

Often, that first decision to try drugs is at a point in an individual’s life where they can’t even make sound decisions. Modern science has shown thataddiction is a disease, not a choice. Loved ones of people struggling with addiction often think there’s nothing they can do until their loved one hits “rock bottom” and decides to get help on their own. Substance abuse is common in the United States, but unfortunately, many people don’t receive the treatment they need. In 2018 an estimated 21.2 million people needed this treatment, but only 3.7 million got it, according to a survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Keep in mind that most people with addiction who suffer a recurrence will return to recovery. Also, people who get help before their illness is so severe have more resources to draw upon, such as supportive family or a job, to help them successfully recover.

Get Treatment

Addiction is not a choice; addiction is a chronic disease. Outward appearances can be deceptive, and addiction does not discriminate. Many people function in daily life and hold down a regular job despite being addicted to alcohol or drugs. While MAT (medication-assisted treatment) does involve replacing one substance with another, you are removing a harmful, addictive substance in favor of one that is safe to use and FDA-approved. Properly applied, MAT can ease withdrawal symptoms and minimize cravings, significantly reduce the risk of overdose, and lay the groundwork for lifelong recovery. One of the most dangerous myths about addiction is that people have to hit rock bottom before they can be ready to commit to recovery.

It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers. Anyone can become addicted to drugs and alcohol, including those people who have a stable family life and those who are successful at their jobs. Socially and psychologically well-adjusted struggle with substance abuse and dependence just as much as those who have challenges. It’s a common belief in society that those who choose to use drugs and alcohol – and who, as a result, become addicted to them – have made the choice to become an addict or substance abuser. Certain, everyone makes their own choices in life, but this belief asserts that the substance abuser actively chose to become addicted. Misconceptions about addiction have been in circulation for centuries. It wasn’t until recently that the medical and scientific communities became aware of how the brain impacts behavior, emotions, and addiction.

Going through treatment can open the addict’s eyes to the fact that they have a problem and from that point, the recovery process starts. For those who aren’t at the point where they want recovery, the first week or two may be challenging. When someone gets caught with an addictive substance in their system, they are sent to court and given a criminal record.

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