There are many myths about addiction that continue to plague our society.
The one truth about addiction is that it begins as a behavioral problem and ends up as a biological one. This is what makes it so difficult to understand and to treat.
Here are some common myths about addiction that some people today still may believe:
- Myth #1 Natural drugs are safer than synthetic ones. Many people think that mushrooms or marijuana are safe because they grow from the ground. So does opium. Just because drugs are not manufactured in a lab does not mean that they are not dangerous and do not change brain chemistry.
- Myth #2 Addiction is a matter of choice. Drug use may begin as a matter of choice, but once the brain chemicals and the bodily responses change, it becomes addiction, a brain disease in which there is no longer a choice.
- Myth #3 Drug addiction is a character flaw. Drug addiction is a brain disease. What happens with every drug that is abused is that it changes the molecules and neurons in the brain. This leads to mood changes, and other brain functioning problems. As these changes take place, the cells in the brain crave more and more of the drug and it becomes the person’s most powerful motivator of existence.
- Myth #4 Prescription drugs are safe. This is one of the most common fallacies that leads many people into addiction. Drugs prescribed by our doctors are not safe, that is why they need to be prescribed. Many people have gone from using drugs prescribed by their physician to heal from pain, only to find themselves having to take more and more as their body builds a tolerance to the drug. Most drugs prescribed by our physicians are safe when used as prescribed but can be lethal if used by someone else, or if used in combination with other medications that the doctor is not aware of.
- Myth #5 Meeting makers make it. This is big saying in NA and AA. One must be advised that simply going to meetings and filling your butt in a chair is not going to keep you clean. A lot of people go to meetings to meet the opposite sex, flirt, go on outings, etc. This may be a good way to meet sober people, but it won’t keep you clean. I am not saying not to go to meetings, because meeting makers do make it, if they do the work. What is the point of going to a twelve-step program if you are not going to do the twelve steps?
- Myth #6 You are not an addict if you have a stable job, family, and life. This may be one of the biggest lies that addicts tell themselves. Just because you have not lost everything dear to you does not mean that you do not have an addiction problem.
- Myth #7 Addiction can be cured. There is no cure for addiction. It is not like cancer, or other diseases that can show physical signs of remission. Addiction is a disease of the brain, spirit and body. It cannot be cured, but it can be managed so that one never has to use again to live a fulfilled, happy, joyous, and free life.
- Myth #8 Recovery is a religious program. Most recovery programs encourage people to find a higher power. They even mention praying to a chair or a pillow if this helps. I personally think praying to a chair is hogwash, but I can see the point of it. The point of this is to not scare people away from recovery who think that they need to believe in “God” to recover. The point is to find your own spirituality that works for you. Doing drugs often fills the hole that can only be filled by gaining spirituality within ourselves. So, it is not a religious program, but one that encourages the addict to rediscover their own spirituality.
- Myth #9 Addicts are bad people. This is a stigma that not only society holds against people with addiction problems, but also one which addicts hold against themselves. There is a separation between who someone is as a person, and what their behavior is while in active addiction.
- Myth #10 Most addicts will relapse, or use again after treatment. Recovery is progress, not perfection, and relapse is not a requirement. Many people do get into recovery, and stay in recovery for their entire life. If a relapse does happen, it is not the end of the world. People with diabetes will go ahead and gorge on sugar and their insulin spikes, but this does not mean that they are failures. Society puts a lot of pressure on people struggling with addiction when we should be helping them, not criticizing them. Every step in the right direction is progress on the road to recovery. Every step our loved ones take should be applauded with love.
Are you looking for addiction treatment? Contact us today at (877) 958-0778 to learn more about our Georgia addiction treatment clinic. Recovery is possible and the professionals at Twin Lakes Recovery Center can get you on the right path.