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5 Surprising Myths About Addiction

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. In fact, the knowledge that addiction originates in complex brain and biological processes is a new development. As such, there are many common myths related to addiction, and these myths have prevented people fromgetting the help they need.Misconceptions have also made it harder for families to reach out for support.

myths about addiction

Also, the addict’s belief that they are meeting responsibilities plays into minimizing the illness. In fact, more often than not, people who have successfully completed addiction treatment relapse at some point.

Top 5 Myths About Addiction

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. Addiction is a disease, and it is comparable to physical ailments like diabetes or heart disease. Studies have found that the relapse rates for drug addiction are almost identical to relapse rates for common physical problems, like hypertension and arthritis. Although addiction cannot be cured like many chronic illnesses, it can be successfully managed and treated with ongoing assistance from doctors and therapists. A person with a condition like diabetes will need to attend ongoing doctor’s appointments, and so will a person with an addiction. Relapse in drug addiction and with other chronic health conditions is a part of the journey to getting better and successfully managing health issues. Medical schools, professional societies, and federal funders of research should bolster their commitment to young investigators through increased grant support and a greater emphasis on mentoring.

myths about addiction

The lists used to send you product and service offers are developed and managed under our traditional standards designed to safeguard the security and privacy of all personal information provided by our users. You may at any time to notify us of your desire not to receive these offers. When the disease takes hold, these changes in the brain erode a person’s self-control and ability to make good decisions, while sending highly intense impulses to take drugs. These are the same circuits linked to survival, driving powerful urges no different from those driving the need to eat or drink water. Find treatment facilities and programs in the United States or U.S. For those who are vulnerable to addiction, substance use can alter brain function and, in a sense, hijack specific aspects of its function. Addictive substances flood the brain with pleasure-enhancing chemicals which, in turn, can erode self-control and the ability to make healthy decisions.

Everyone responds to treatment very differently, even if it is the same substance being abused. A successful treatment should be tailored to the individual and their specific needs. Assures teens with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs that, “It’s not your fault!” and that they are not alone. Encourages teens to seek emotional support from other adults, school counselors, and youth support groups such as Alateen, and provides a resource list. Prescription medications such as sedatives, stimulants and painkillers are highly addictive and have many potential harmful effects. Never assume that, simply because your doctor has prescribed a medication, you can’t become addicted to it.

They physically can’t make it through the day without getting high. The high that the substances produce puts them in a constant cycle of looking for their next fix. If you’ve never seen the reality of drug addiction in a loved one, it’s easy to fall into the trap that addiction is a sign of immorality. People like to think they or those they care about are protected from falling into that kind of life because of being “good” people. Those in recovery are taught to fear relapse, and certainly, this is a legitimate fear. However, often shame is linked to relapse, which can be detrimental to someone’s recovery.

Myth #5: Relapse Is A Sign Of Failure

If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities. The reality is that, the longer you wait before you get help, the sicker you will be and the more in danger your life will be as well.

myths about addiction

By addressing these myths head-on, Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth, Virginia would like to help ease the minds of people who are considering entering recovery. This is a surprising bit of information, and a myth to most people – drug users, including hard drug users, are not automatically addicted to their drugs. In this article, we’re taking a closer look at 7 of the most common myths about addiction. However, there are several serious misconceptions people still believe despite the latest research from mental health and therapy professionals. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, don’t let misconceptions prevent you from seeking help. Contact Pyramid Healthcare to get answers to your questions and learn about treatment options.

Myth #3

Unfortunately, this myth persists because, throughout prolonged substance abuse, people with addiction often make poor choices that can negatively affect the lives of those around them. The truth is that addicts act in ways that occur due to changes in the brain’s functioning.

myths about addiction

The forefront of addiction and recovery is inundated with outdated and blatantly false information. Because of this, there can be a lot of shame and embarrassment tied to the disease of addiction, making it even more challenging to get well. It is important to talk about addiction openly and honestly so that not only those who need treatment get the support they need, but those around them can understand how to be a positive support system. Of course, you cannot condone behavior such as stealing or cheating, but that doesn’t mean an addict is a bad person. Like anyone who is fighting a debilitating disease, they need treatment. Gender – Men are 50% more likely to struggle with drug abuse and addiction.

There’s no telling whether you can beat your addiction alone until you do – but many people manage it, especially in the case of alcoholism or nicotine. We can’t tell for sure what factors are at play in every single case, only that there is research to back up the involvement of each of the above factors and that every case is different and unique.

For instance, a person might be addicted to injecting himself with drugs as opposed to taking drugs in pill form. Addiction is a prevalent disease in our society, and yet there are many addiction myths. People make assumptions about addiction based on erroneous portrayals of it in the media. Some of these addiction myths are just outdated information§ since we’ve learned more about the concept of addiction and effective treatment modalities in recent decades.

In reality, addiction is more like a disease, a brain condition that makes it impossible to consciously control. Addicts are often viewed as lazy or stupid for not overcoming their problem, but people who point the finger at addicts are often missing the point entirely. Some people think that because a doctor prescribed a drug, it’s not “as bad” as street drugs like heroin, crack, or cocaine. The opioid crisis has helped dispute that myth about addiction.

  • Continuum of CareAddiction recovery isn’t a one-size-fits-all process.
  • If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, reach out to us for a free, confidential consultation.
  • Until society and the media accept this fact, these disruptive and harmful myths will continue to persist.
  • The myth that marijuana is not addictive can lull someone into a false sense of security, and increase the rate of teens trying the drug.
  • Once drug and alcohol addiction takes hold, it doesn’t matter how strong-willed a person is because their ability to make choices is gone.

Also, myths surrounding specific drugs and how they affect people can make it more likely for someone to try the drug. For example, thinking that smoking marijuana is safer than smoking tobacco. Even though the leading authorities on addiction agree that addiction is a chronic disease similar to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, addicts are still treated as second-class citizens.

Learn More About Addiction

This myth is propagated by 12-step recovery programs, which encourage lifelong attendance of meetings to combat a chronic disorder and reduce the risk of relapse. If you become addicted to heroin, it doesn’t mean that you’re a lifelong heroin addict, or that drinking a single drop of alcohol will cause you to become an alcoholic. 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. Relapse is a difficult part of the process, but it is one that is common and can be overcome. Relapse should not be a deterrent from exploring treatment again, in fact, it can be a reminder of why you sought help in the first place.

People like to make a distinction between alcoholics and drug addicts, for instance, implying that you might be one or the other but not both. The common myth is that a person is either a drinker or a drug user. Within those distinctions, there are further classifications.

The longer one exposes their brain the more they rewire their brain in a way where it cannot understand how to avoid cravings for the feelings that drug use creates. Prolonged drug use makes it extremely difficult for one to be able to overcome their addiction due to how their brain has been rewired. Employment is often a priority because it provides the money to purchase drugs and alcohol. The feeling that everything is “good” aids in the denial, rationalization, and justifications.

If someone’s brain is already challenged by substance abuse, willpower is also compromised. Some people can frequently use a substance without suffering addiction. But for others, research indicates their brains experience predicable changes with each use, which only creates a stronger dependence on the drug. It’s true that certain recreational activities might not be a good idea once a person gets sober—especially if they trigger memories of past substance use. However, there are plenty of options for activities a person can do while in recovery. Often, the fears people have around leaving behind alcohol and other drugs are rooted in myths instead of reality.

An addiction is an unhealthy habit that is compulsively used to meet a need. People develop addictions to food, gambling, sex, shopping, and a variety of other things. Substitute addictions can occur when people turn to new behaviors to cope with no longer using drugs or alcohol.

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