Drug and alcohol addiction are all too commonly stigmatized and stereotyped- catalyzing rife misunderstandings, miscommunication, and dangerous assumptions among spouses, parents, friends, and other critical relationships. In an attempt to clear the air and shine light on some of the three most egregious falsities surrounding addiction, we’ve provided insightful answers for the following three myths of drug and alcohol addiction:
1. Myth: Drug and Alcohol Addiction Is a Choice or Moral Failing
Most people, far removed from the disease of addiction, are convinced drug and alcohol addiction is precipitated by a moral failing or character flaw, and assert victims of substance use disorders are in full control of their compulsive habits.
Drug and alcohol addiction is a genetic disease by nature, which may be worsened (or manifest in someone without the genetic disposition for abuse) by environmental suggestion and stimulus of surrounding substance abuse. In other words, drug and alcohol addicts do not have the mental ability to control their use of addictive substances. Principally, this lack of self control stems from the physical and mental aspects of the disease of addiction. Once someone has developed a physical dependency to an addictive substance their biological system requires the drug to function normally.
Continued drug and alcohol addiction will permanently impair the body’s ability to organically synthesize important chemicals in the brain; including dopamine and serotonin, which are responsible for managing emotions, and experiencing feelings of pleasure and reward. Imagine functioning throughout a normal day without your natural reserve of serotonin (which is gradually released throughout the day), you would feel: depressed, easily agitated, restless, prone to overreaction, and suffer several other emotional deficits. Serotonin, once deprived from the body for extended periods of time, manifests its absence aggressively in the form of chronic, unexplained mood swings.
2. Drug Users Just Want to Get High- Alcoholics Too
A common misconception about drug use is that victims of substance use disorders are party fiends, only seeking the gratification of a high. This is inaccurate. Although drug addicts, who have not been treated for the disease of addiction, may seem crazed in their apparent need to get their hands on their drug of choice, this behavior does not stem from the urges to have fun and let loose- in fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Drug addiction is precipitated first by the physical need for the presence of certain addictive substances in the body; however, to get to this point, there is an earlier origin of addiction (which perhaps mingles with genetic predispositions to abuse). Drug addiction and alcoholism is the result of desperate self medication. Self medication is the willful act of attempting to escape harsh realities and the traumatic events of life.
Those most prone to self medication are those in violent domestic situations, victims of rape and sexual assault, victims of homelessness, people without the sufficient life skills to cope with chronic depression, anger, and anxiety, those with undiagnosed mental disorders (including bipolar disorder and clinical depression), and anyone who keeps their emotions under lock and key, penting up feelings of depression, resentment, and emotional discord. There are a thousand doors to addiction, but all open in an attempt to escape an emotional situation which is often left unaddressed, until significant progress is made within an addiction treatment center in New York.
3. Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment is Over After Graduation from Rehab Programs
Drug and alcohol addiction treatment is not as simple as receiving a diploma of recovery. The disease of addiction is a condition victims will carry with them for life. Everyday has the potential of relapse. Victims of substance use disorders will manage their cravings for the duration of their lives. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for every victim of drug and alcohol addiction. The successful execution of avoidance, and craving management are the only things which help victims of addiction control their cravings for drugs and alcohol. Without ample emotional support from loved ones, or continual therapy, recovered patients are prey to experiencing a potentially fatal relapse.
Drug and alcohol addiction treatment is a continual cycle. Recovering victims learn how to utilize new tools and emotional strategies to circumvent relapse, and continue leading happy lives, free from drugs and alcohol. Don’t confuse their ease of living with the absence of the allure to return to compulsive behaviors of abuse. Even addiction medical professionals employed at the best drug detox centers in New York, who have overcome drug or alcohol addiction themselves, must actively work to prevent their chances of relapsing.