16 Myths About Addiction
Addiction is by far one of the most misunderstood diseases running rampant amid the entire country. Fortunately the tides seem to be turning politically as we shift from an incarceration mentality to promoting treatment for the disease, in the event of drug related offences. But there’s more to addiction than the fabled treatment VS incarceration debate we want you to know. After reading this list of 16 myths about addiction, you’ll be armed with the correct information about addiction to treat the people around you with compassion and understanding.
Without further ado, here are 16 myths about addiction that are entirely untrue:
Addiction is a choice.
Actually, addiction is a physical and psychological disease firmly rooted in biology, in most cases. Those with substance use disorders are responding to a physical need to the substance they are addicted to.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Many people with untreated substance use disorders want to get sober, but lack the resources to do so. After time users don’t “get high,” they need their drug to function normally- because their bodies have become dependent.
Junkies don’t care about anything but drugs.
While many who are heavily addicted to illicit and prescription drugs, people with substance use disorders think about the people they love, and feel genuinely disgusted with themselves about the things they do for drugs.
Addicts don’t have a conscious.
You don’t actually believe that, do you? People suffering from addiction are just like you and I, they have fully rounded thoughts, equipped with complicated emotions. Just as you wouldn’t say your best friend doesn’t have a conscious while running around drunk at a party- people with substance use disorders are no different.
Druggies don’t want to get help.
Wrong! Many don’t believe they can get help. No one wants to be at the mercy of a drug that takes over your entire life. Take it from Audrey, a recovered Meth Addict for 21 years and counting.
Addiction is a problem of morality.
The development of a substance use disorder has nothing to do with morality– but the environment one is exposed to, genetic disposition, and a deficit of coping skills to overcome the many hurdles of everyday life. Many people self medicate to quell anxiety, depression, and undiagnosed psychological conditions.
Giving an addict asking for money is wrong. They’re just going to buy drugs.
While this is a personal decision, we implore you to act with more compassion. People begging for money on the street do not necessarily have a substance use disorder. As for those who do, unfortunately without treatment, they will continue to seek their drug of choice. If you’re not comfortable giving a few dollars, carry brochures and business cards of your local rehabilitation center. It is not scorn that will help people, but access to resources.
Drug addicts are bad people.
People suffering from addiction are just like you and me, who have taken to remedy their depression, or life conflicts. Addiction does not perverse the soul, nor does it brand those struggling with it as “bad people.” They are literally people who do not have treatment for a severe psychological disease.
It doesn’t matter if I talk to addicts.
Actually, many people who are addicted use drugs because they don’t feel connected to the people around them. Loneliness is a huge factor in many substance use disorders. Having the opportunity to share in basic human companionship is sometimes all anyone needs to work their their inward ails.
Drug addicts just want my money.
It is unfair to brand every single person with an untreated substance use disorder with this stereotype. The truth is, yes some do in response to their biological dependence to their drug of choice- however many just want to be loved and accepted.
Addicts should just be like me. I’m stressed, but I’ve never used drugs.
While you may satiate your stress with other means, it is unfair to judge someone of which you know nothing of. This is called a “fallacy of shoulds.” You do not have the right to mandate what is and what is not acceptable . Instead of casting judgement, you would find answers more readily in attempting to understand addiction. The only way to do that is to start asking questions!
Addicts will never amount to anything.
Addiction isn’t a real disease.
Actually, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a neurological disease, which can cause permanent brain damage.
It doesn’t matter how I talk to an addict.
People with addiction deserve respect, just as you or I do. It very much impacts someone with a substance use disorder when people speak rudely to them. In fact, our speech and the way we treat people with addiction directly impacts their likelihood of getting treatment. You don’t like people running around with substance use disorders? You can help change that by altering the way you speak and becoming more aware of what’s really going on around you.
Rehab doesn’t matter, they’re addicts are always going to go back to using anyway.
Although relapse is common among people in recovery- it is also common among everyone! How many times have you said “no more sweets” and then reached for one an hour or day later? Addiction is the same. Relapse is a necessary learning curve into the transition of sobriety.
16. Marijuana isn’t really addictive.
Tell that to all the people who have been hospitalized from marijuana and K2 because they couldn’t stop smoking it.
Have other myths, or have something to say about these? Let us know below!
About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.