There are many common misconceptions about addiction that can hurt an addict trying to change. Addiction is one of the most difficult things an individual can face in their lifetime. Not only are some addictions terribly difficult to overcome, but the stigma attached to addiction and substance abuse can make what’s already bad even worse. No one wants to be an addict. There aren’t many people that deliberately choose to become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Unfortunately, these aren’t the only misconceptions people have regarding addiction. Addiction is one of the most misunderstood conditions that exists. And more often than not, it’s these fallacies that keep them from getting the help they so desperately need. Following are some of the most common misconceptions about addiction that exist.
Looking at Common Misconceptions About Addiction
- Only Certain Kinds of Types of People Become Addicts
There is a widespread notion that only certain “types” of people become addicted to drugs or alcohol. The stigma attached to addiction has led people to believe that addicts come from a lower social class and poor economic backgrounds. The truth is, anyone can become an addict. Addiction doesn’t discriminate based on how much money a person makes, their race, or how well perceived they are by society. Addiction affects people from all walks of life, all over the world.
- An Addict Can Quit Using Whenever They Want To
Anyone who is an addict, who has been an addict, or loved someone who was addicted to drugs or alcohol knows nothing could be further from the truth. If addicts could just quit using whenever they wanted, we wouldn’t be facing addiction rates of epidemic proportions. When a person abuses a substance to the point of dependency, brain chemistry actually changes. Once a person is addicted, they don’t typically use to get high. They use to feel normal and to be able to function in their everyday reality.
When a person tries to quit, they typically experience intense feelings of both physical and psychological withdrawal that can truly make quitting feel impossible. In severe cases of addiction, physical withdrawal can even be life threatening. It isn’t that they don’t want to quit. Most of the time they genuinely feel that they can’t.
- Once an Addict, Always an Addict
One of the biggest misconceptions about addiction is that once someone is an addict, they will always be an addict no matter how many years they’ve been sober or clean. There are countless people who have recovered from addiction without “hiding in the shadow” of possible relapse for the rest of their lives.
This is one mistaken belief about addiction that can make people lose hope of ever trying to recover. They may wonder what the use of getting clean is if they’re always going to be an addict. Even for those that do become sober, the notion that they will always be addicted can easily lead to relapse. A person who was once an addict can successfully overcome their addiction without “maintaining” it forever.
- Traditional Treatment (Including 12-Step Programs) is the Best Way to Overcome Addiction
Addiction is a highly personal problem and no two addicts are alike. While traditional addiction treatment options are generally considered “standard” and are the most common types of treatment available, the truth is that they don’t always work. Not everyone responds to addiction treatment the same. Inpatient and outpatient rehab and 12-step programs are basically protocol in this country, but the success rate of these treatment options is actually quite low. If these treatments were working, there wouldn’t be epidemic proportions of nationwide addiction and overdose rates.
While many people associate addiction treatment with these traditional methods, there are alternatives that exist. There are several other options for successfully treating addiction, some of which include:
- Holistic Recovery
- Mindfulness-Based Recovery
- Yoga/Meditation Recovery
- EMT (Emotional Freedom Technique)
- Art Therapy
The idea that tradition treatment is the best way to overcome addiction is truly misleading. When it comes to addiction treatment, there is no “best.” Only what works. There are several options available that have helped countless individuals successfully beat their addiction and go on to live rewarding and fulfilling lives. If you are seeking addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one, it’s highly recommended to look at all the options available.
- The Best Time to Seek Treatment is When a Person Has Hit Rock Bottom
For some, seeking treatment is the last resort. Many people will wait until they’ve hit rock bottom before getting the treatment they so desperately need, often after its too late. By the time people seek out ways to overcome their addiction, they’ve already lost everything. Their jobs, families, relationships with loved ones. The best time to seek treatment isn’t after a person’s life has completely fallen apart.
Seeking treatment should be done when a person realizes that they’re dependent on drugs or alcohol. While overcoming addiction is generally difficult, it can feel nearly impossible once the addiction becomes severe. Seeking treatment early on in addiction has the potential to save a lot of unnecessary pain and struggle. The best time to seek addiction treatment is the moment you realize there’s a problem. Think you might need help? Start looking at your options before you reach rock bottom.
Final Thoughts on Common Misconceptions About Addiction
Becoming an addict is not a person’s “fault.” Addiction isn’t something a person chooses, and it is not some sort of character flaw that makes one person weaker than another. Addiction is a highly complex condition that over the years, has become highly stigmatized.
It affects people from all social backgrounds and does not discriminate based on race, gender, age, or how much money a person has. And, it can happen to anyone. Clearing up these common misconceptions about addiction can make it easier for addicts and their loved ones to understand addiction and help them get the help they need.