When it comes to drug use and addiction, there are no easy answers. As with many complex issues, several factors play a role in what leads a person to turn to substance abuse. Yet one of the more troubling aspects of this topic are the misconceptions surrounding the people suffering from this condition. The following are just a few examples of some of the commonly held beliefs when it comes to drug abuse:
- “Addicts can stop whenever they want.” The main flaw in this belief is that it operates under the assumption that the addict is always making a conscious choice. It’s common to hear “If he loves me, he’d stop” from the loved one of an addict. But unfortunately, the situation is simply not that cut and dry. Addiction stems from a mental dependency that can trigger a compulsive need for the addict to seek out comfort by way of the substance. While it is possible to break the cycle in time, it’s not something that can easily be ended on a whim.
- “Addiction is a sign of weak morals.” While it’s hard to define morality across the board, the issue of right and wrong become tricky when discussing substance addiction. Genetics, environment, and psychological factors can all play a role in driving someone to seek comfort in drugs and alcohol, not just what they’ve been taught as being good or bad.
- “Only ‘hard’ or ‘street’ drugs are dangerous.” This is a concept that is starting to be more openly discredited as addiction to prescription drugs has become more widely discussed. However, it’s still important to consider that an addiction can also involve other legal substances such as alcohol, sleep aids, or stimulants such as ADHD medication.
- “There is nothing friends or family can do.” It’s easy to see yourself as powerless when dealing with a loved one’s addiction, but there is always something that friends and family can offer to help. Being a consistent presence of positivity and support during hard times and offering guidance to those in need does a great deal to aid the recovery process.
- “Relapse is a sign of failure.” This view is probably one of the most dangerous as it can often breed feelings of shame, guilt, and hopelessness in the minds of those who had previously been attempting to seek help. Relapse is a normal part of the recovery process and when handled properly can be used as a tool to help steer those recovering back on the right path.
Lack of information on the true issues of addiction is often what causes these myths to thrive and over time can cause more harm than good when dealing with those who are recovering. If you need assistance with your substance abuse issues, remember that it’s never too late to seek help. And if you are dealing with a friend or loved one who is on the path to recovery, remember to stay positive and open-minded during their challenging time.
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