People who have never dealt with drug addiction often don’t fully understand it. This is partly because of media portrayals of addiction and misconceptions that have been around for years. If you’re struggling with addiction or trying to support someone who is, you need to know the facts. Let’s look at some of the most common myths about drug addiction and explore why they’re incorrect.
Common Myths About Drug Addiction
1. It’s Easy to Identify an Addict
Most people have a stereotype in their heads about what an addict looks like. You may picture someone who’s young and homeless or unable to hold down a job. However, they can be of any age, gender or socioeconomic status. Many addicts continue to function normally for some time. They go to work, spend time with their families and even participate in community activities.
2. All You Need to Overcome Addiction is Willpower
One of the common myths about drug addiction is that it’s a sign of personal weakness. It’s true that drug use often starts out as a voluntary action. However, drugs alter the brain and the user experiences strong cravings and a compulsion to use no matter what the cost. Moreover, several factors contribute to addiction including:
- Men are 50 percent more likely to engage in drug abuse or develop an addiction.
- Family history. Having relatives who are addicts makes an individual more likely to develop an addiction.
- Mental health problems. People who have anxiety, depression or other psychological problems may use drugs to self-medicate.
- Family tensions. People who experience high levels of stress because of problems with their loved ones can be vulnerable to drug abuse that leads to addiction.
- Peer pressure. Teens and young adults are especially likely to give in to pressure from friends who encourage them to use drugs.
- Addictive potential of the drug. Some substances, like heroin and cocaine, are highly addictive. People can become addicted to them faster than they would another drug.
Anyone can develop a drug addiction but people who have several of these risk factors should be especially careful.
3. Using Prescription Opioids is Safe
Doctors often prescribe opioids to help patients manage severe pain. These drugs are helpful, but regular or long-term use can result in addiction. If misused, opioids can be especially harmful, and they can even be deadly. This is borne out in the opioid crisis in the United States. If you need opioids to manage your pain, you need to ensure you only use them as directed. Reach out to a treatment professional if you believe you’re misusing drugs.
4. Addiction is An Untreatable Disease
Addiction is a disease that changes the brain but that doesn’t mean there’s no hope for addicts. Medication, therapy, exercise and other types of treatments can help to reverse the changes. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to treating addiction so each individual will need a personalized treatment plan.
5. Addicts Only Get Better After They Hit Rock Bottom
Some people believe addicts need to lose everything before they can begin to recover. However, recovery can actually begin at any point. The earlier you get treatment for your addiction, the better it will be for you. If you use drugs for a long time, the addiction will get stronger, and therefore, harder to treat. As soon as you notice you have a problem or a loved one is struggling, you should get help.
6. Treatment Must be Voluntary to be Effective
Some people recognize that they need help and they seek out treatment on their own. However, those are who are pressured by the courts or a family member can benefit just as much. They begin to think more clearly when they sober up and they decide they want to effect lasting change in their lives.
7. Addicts Should Overcome Addiction with Just One Course of Treatment
Addiction is a chronic disease. Some people can quit successfully by taking a cold turkey approach. Some people also get well after entering a treatment facility just one time. However, many people need long-term treatment. They may get clean and then relapse before getting back on track again. This is common and relapse should be seen as a normal part of recovery. Even if an individual experiences setbacks, they can still become sober. They may need to go back to treatment or try a different treatment approach.Contact Asheville Recovery Center to Get Help for Yourself or A Loved One
You now know some of the myths about drug addiction. Whether you’re supporting a friend or loved one who is struggling or you want to overcome your addiction, the team at Asheville Recovery Center is here to help. Contact us today to learn about the services we offer.