This week is National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week. We rounded up some of the biggest misconceptions and myths about addiction, and are dispelling them for you. Let’s get the facts straight:
Myth #1: It’s easy to pick an addict out of the crowd.
Not every addict fits that stereotypical picture in your head – the one of an old man in tattered clothes with a bottle in a paper bag, or a woman stumbling on a sidewalk, with visible signs of drug abuse. Most addicts look just like you – they have jobs, they have families, and they have hobbies.
Myth #2: Only “hard” drugs like cocaine and heroin are addictive.
This one is definitely a myth. While drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines are definitely dangerous and come with a lot of risks, drugs that are used in a more recreational manner, like alcohol and marijuana, can be addictive as well. Even drugs prescribed by a doctor, like opioid painkillers, can lead to addiction, so be careful to follow your doctor’s directions.
Myth #3: Rehabilitation doesn’t work.
It’s true that many addicts will relapse after going to rehab. Addiction is a very powerful disease, and often, it will take more than one try or one method to fight addiction. But, this does not mean that rehab isn’t effective or shouldn’t be an option when fighting addiction.
Myth #4: Alcohol causes alcoholism.
Not true! While alcohol is a component, there are a lot of risk factors for alcoholism:
- Genetic predisposition: struggling with alcohol addiction often runs in the family.
- Gender: did you know that men are more likely to develop alcoholism than women?
- Psychological factors: low self-esteem and depression can often lead to drinking in order to fit in.
- Age at which one starts drinking: the younger one is when they start drinking, the more likely they are to struggle with alcohol addiction.
Myth #5: Addicts can stop anytime they want.
Quitting isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds. Quitting a habit like cracking your knuckles or having dessert after dinner every night is easy, but with addiction, there are issues like dependence, where your body physically needs the drug in order to function. And depending on the drug, withdrawal from this dependency can be dangerous.
Did we dispel any myths for you? Are there any other myths you’ve heard about drug and alcohol abuse and addiction that need to be busted? Let us know in the comments.