Written by SoberinfoDespite the growing awareness surrounding the addiction epidemic, people still have false ideas about substance abuse. There are dozens of misconceptions surrounding addiction, some harmless and others incredibly dangerous. Knowing what’s true and what’s fiction when it comes to drugs and alcohol is critical.If you have a loved one struggling with alcohol or drug addiction you probably have some of your own misunderstandings you want to clear up. Breaking down the myths about addiction could mean the difference between life and death for someone. The more you understand the problem, the more you can be part of the solution.The following are just a few of the many widespread myths about addiction.
Too many people still have a false belief that only people who are homeless, unemployed, criminal, or otherwise unproductive can have an addiction. They think that someone who is gainfully employed, in school, or who has a family couldn’t possibly struggle with addiction. This is a dangerous myth.In reality, more than 70% of people who struggle with addiction have jobs and live with their families. Addiction can affect anyone, no matter who they are, what they do, or where they live. It’s a progressive condition and gets worse over time and, if left untreated, could lead to greater consequences.
Many who struggle with drug or alcohol addiction believe they can still control their alcohol and drug use. They may have a false sense of control, believing they can stop at any given time.In the early stages of addiction, substance use may be somewhat controlled. Maybe the alcohol or substance abuse can stop for long periods, but eventually, there is a relapse. Relapse is a key component of identifying someone with a substance abuse disorder.
The idea that people can only quit once they’ve lost everything is another common addiction myth. Plenty of people who struggle with addiction find sobriety after losing most of the things they love in life. But, even more, find recovery long before they lose all they care about. There is no prerequisite rock bottom.By believing this myth one might think they are not worthy of seeking recovery. They might compare their story to others who have been arrested, in accidents, gone to jail, or another one of many consequences. If these consequences aren’t part of their story they might not ask for help. Anyone can seek help for their addiction whenever they’re ready to stop.
Relapse is a common part of having a substance use disorder. If this dangerous myth were true, most of those in recovery wouldn’t be clean and sober today. Relapse is a part of many people’s stories yet they were still able to find a solution to their substance abuse.As long as someone wants to stop using drugs and alcohol, addiction treatment programs can help. It doesn’t matter whether they’ve relapsed or not. Help is available to anyone who wants to stop drinking and using regardless of how many times they’ve relapsed.
This is one of the oldest myths about addiction that is still heard today. Addiction is not a matter of self-control or willpower. It is not simple; quitting takes hard work, commitment, accountability, and support.
Like the willpower myth, some believe that addiction comes from poor morals or from making bad decisions. This is false, too. Substance abuse disorder is a complex disease. Substances cause chemical changes in the brain and addiction is a result of changes in the brain, not of a person’s morals.