Addiction is a powerful medical condition that affects people of all ethnicities, backgrounds, income brackets, and education levels. While addiction definitely takes a hard toll on the bodies and minds of substance abusers, the truth is that friends, family members, and acquaintances of abusers can also suffer from the effects of addiction. Debunking some of the myths about addiction can help these friends and family members.
Learning the truth about addiction can not only give
substance abusers more hope, but it can help their friends and family members
provide them with better support and guidance. Below are some common myths
about addiction, along with the important facts about how this condition
affects millions of people around the country.
1: Users Simply Need More Will Power
It’s not uncommon for friends and family members of an
abuser to simply wonder why the person they love can’t just stop using drugs or
alcohol. Often people suggest or say outright that if a person really had
enough desire and willpower, they could quit cold turkey or at least cut back
on how much they use a substance. This question can bring out particularly
emotional responses when people with addiction problems put their jobs in
jeopardy, suffer from marital issues, sever ties with loved ones, or, worse,
put their children in danger.
It may seem like in the face of these dire situations that a
person could use willpower to overcome any sort of physical need to abuse drugs
or alcohol. However, substance addiction is actually a condition that changes
what goes on in a person’s brain. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse
asserts that even if a person desperately wants to quit and has very strong
willpower, they will typically need more than a desire to completely overcome
the pull of the addiction.
2: Hitting Rock Bottom is the Best Way to Overcome
Many people talk about drug abusers hitting rock bottom
before they’re able to truly seek out help. The phrase revolves around the
thought that people can only realize they need treatment if they descend to the
lowest possible point in their lives.
However, the idea of reaching rock bottom is not only highly
subjective, but it’s also extremely dangerous. Depending on who is talking
about this idea, rock bottom can mean running out of money, being homeless,
turning to a life of crime, or being close to death. If family members or
friends are waiting for their loved ones to hit rock bottom before recommending
help, substance abusers might be at higher risk for serious issues that are
associated with long-term addiction.
These may include:
- Liver damage
- Serious accidents
- Heart damage
- Disease transmission from needle use
Contrary to the rock bottom theory, people with substance
abuse problems can get help and recover at nearly any phase of their addiction
problem, whether they just became an addict or they’ve been addicted for
decades. There is no single or ideal time to seek out help for addiction—any
time is a good time.
Rather than waiting for a potential proverbial rock bottom
period, loved ones of someone with an abuse problem should be supportive of
treatment and recovery at all stages of addiction.
3: Addiction is Hopeless.
For substance abusers and loved ones who have been
struggling with addiction for a long time, recovery can be hard to imagine. But
the truth is that many people have gone through similar struggles and
successfully overcome even the most difficult addictions, regardless of the
type of substance or how long the addiction has lasted.
Whether a person seeks help alone or with the assistance of friends or family members, the first step toward beating addiction involves finding the ideal rehabilitation option that provides the right types of programs to suit an individual’s needs. Choosing the best possible treatment approach can not only give recovering substance abusers the tools to overcome addiction, but it can also instill them with the hope that helps them continue to make progress.