Dispelling the Myths About Addiction: Strategies to Increase Understanding and Strengthen Research The National Academies Press

Around 247,000 people in the U.S. died from a prescription opioid overdose from 1999 to 2019. The truth is addiction doesn’t discriminate by type of drug and any substance that you abuse can be dangerous and deadly. While it’s true that you may encounter some people who don’t understand your decision, treatment provides you with an environment where you are surrounded by people who know what you’re going through. Besides the others in your program, many addiction programs rely on help and support from former patients who have turned their lives around and are now committed to giving back to their communities. Men are more likely to be addicted to drugs – but the rate of female drug abuse is on the rise than that of men. Furthermore, while it’s true that many addicts are poor, the fastest-growing demographic for substance abuse lies in those who economically qualify as upper class.

myths about addiction

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Those in recovery are taught to fear relapse, and certainly, this is a legitimate fear. However, often shame is linked to relapse, which can be detrimental eco sober house rating to someone’s recovery. In fact, the NIDAfinds that relapse statistics show that 40-60% of people relapse after completing addiction treatment.

Myth: Addicts Are Bad People

While it is true that the individual going to treatment needs to be engaged and willing to change to be successful, hitting rock bottom isn’t a prerequisite of maintaining sobriety. Detoxing from drugs or alcohol is a process that should always be supervised and managed by a medical professional. Going through detox can be very dangerous, painful, and even deadly, so it’s best to have experts on hand to monitor your status. Instead of dwelling on the dark side of addiction, our staff encourages the clients to adopt an optimistic outlook, and helps them to find practical solutions to their issues.

  • EVERY person we worked with was not only professional but caring and supportive.
  • If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, reach out to Serenity Grove’s addiction treatment program in Athens, GA at soon as possible.
  • Opioid use disorder, which includes addictions to heroin and prescription pain medications, may be treated with medications like methadone.
  • Medical professionals can also offer tools to make detoxing more manageable.
  • What matters is when the person drinks, why the person drinks, and how much they drink.
  • “The majority of people who achieve recovery do not go to such programs, although they can be helpful for many,” Manejwala says.

There’s no telling whether you can beat your addiction alone until you do – but many people manage it, especially with alcoholism or nicotine. Thanks to a mixture of societal stigma and media, we have a one-sided, simplistic view of addicts, which worsens the issue for us as a society. This refutes the logic of the common “tough love” approach to treating addiction. People often believe that cutting addicts out of their lives or putting them in jail will help them to realize that change needs to occur, but this harsh treatment can often exacerbate the problem. Gentler approaches are more effective at helping addicts, while pushing them away may result in even more extreme behavior.

Recovery from drug addiction is a long process that often involves setbacks. Relapse doesn’t mean that treatment has failed or that sobriety is a lost cause. It is a signal to get back on track, either by going back to treatment or adjusting the treatment approach. Also, people who’ve struggled with addiction often enter rehab with gaps in employment and other financial hardships. They may also be homeless, facing eviction, or locked into an abusive relationship. Still, a significant percentage of people who enter rehab will also have a co-occurring illness that may have never been addressed and treated.

Myth About Addiction: Addicts lack moral fiber

Many teens will try marijuana as a way to experiment with drugs, “look cool,” relieve stress or to alleviate boredom. The myth that marijuana is not addictive can lull someone into a false sense of security, and increase the rate of teens trying the drug. Unfortunately, pot is an addictive substance, and one in eleven people who try marijuana will form an addiction.

myths about addiction

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Relapse proves that addiction treatment doesn’t work.

Prescription opioids are responsible for up to 30% of all overdose deaths in the U.S. Recovery is not a one-size-fits-all treatment, nor is it temporary. Even though someone has relapsed, it doesn’t mean they weren’t still making progress before. A recurrence may imply that a change in treatment approach or methods is needed. Relapse is defined as a series of setbacks along the way to recovery, not as a definite reversion to old ways, so even if you relapse, you can still return to recovery. Addicts/alcoholics come in many forms — even if the individual has not hit the stereotypical ‘rock bottom,’ he or she can still benefit from drug and alcohol treatment.

What are the four theories of addiction?

These include Negative Reinforcement (“Pain Avoidance”), Positive Reinforcement (“Pleasure Seeking”), Incentive Salience (“Craving”), Stimulus Response Learning (“Habits”), and Inhibitory Control Dysfunction (“Impulsivity”).

The information on this website is not intended to be a substitute for, or to be relied upon as, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified health provider with questions regarding a medical condition. Addiction in America 40 million people in America struggle with addiction and it’s the third largest cause of death, but many don’t get the help they need.

If you’re an addict, you will always be an addict.

Addiction makes significant changes to one’s brain chemistry, making it increasingly difficult to quit. As a result of chemical dependence, the body craves more and more of the substance to function normally. Even if a person intends to quit, their body may start to malfunction without the drug.

At what age does drug abuse start?

Children begin to face high risks for experimentation with marijuana and hashish between 13 and 14 years. Risks for the initiation into crack/cocaine begin at ages 15 and 16.

Also, once a person starts taking a substance, complex physiological processes can take over their ability to make sound decisions. While addiction is a familiar concept to most, there are lots of misguided beliefs about addiction and those who suffer from it. Over the years, people have continued to reinforce and circulate damaging myths about addiction. These can be extremely harmful to those struggling with this disease, so we have compiled a list of 5 common myths about addiction to debunk. needs to review the security of your connection before proceeding. Many times, people who decide not to get help for addiction do so because of uncertainty. The fear of the unknown has stood in many people’s way when it comes to treatment. There are many stereotypes when it comes to how addicts look. Some people believe they are easy to spot as they are usually poor or homeless.

This is probably one of the most damaging myths about drug or alcohol addiction. Becoming addicted to drugs is not a problem of willpower or a sign of weakness. Many factors influence a person’s risk factors for addiction, and willpower is not one of them. Addiction often runs in families, and genetics are often to blame.

Mental Health For Teens Learn about our evidence-based approach to depression and behavioral health conditions. Also, people who get help before addiction is severe have more resources to draw upon, such as supportive family or a job, to help them successfully recover. Almost everything we think we know about addiction is wrong. These myths hurt families and friends – and they make it harder for people to get well.

Are the brains of addicts different?

Many addicts inherit a brain that has trouble just saying no to drugs. A study in Science finds that cocaine addicts have abnormalities in areas of the brain involved in self-control. And these abnormalities appear to predate any drug abuse.

This is actually a very dangerous misconception that many people have. The longer you wait to encourage someone to seek treatment, the sicker they get, which can lead to deadly consequences. Any aspect of your life being affected by the substance implies a problem that requires treatment. Understanding myths surrounding addiction is essential for supporting those who suffer. Addiction research has revealed truths about this disease which helps shed light on how addiction really works and the best courses of treatment.

The forefront of addiction and recovery is inundated with outdated and blatantly false information. Because of this, there can be a lot of shame and embarrassment tied to the disease of addiction, making it even more challenging to get well. Search by your age, location, treatment program and level of care to find the solution that best fits your needs. Mental Health for Young Adults Learn about our evidence-based approach to depression and behavioral health conditions.

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