Substance abuse is the subject of a number of unfounded myths, many of which have been perpetuated by the media. In this article, we take a look at some of the most common misconceptions about addiction and alcohol and drug abuse rehabilitation.
Myth About Addiction #1: Addicts Have No Willpower
Many people still hold on to the belief that an addict has the propensity to quit whenever they choose to. Believing that addiction to drugs and alcohol is a lifestyle choice is a misconception that is actually quite dangerous, with individuals who are suffering from addiction issues being made to feel outcast.
Addiction is an illness that isolates people in its grip, although understanding how substance abuse develops makes it possible to recognize the signs that an individual needs drug abuse rehabilitation treatment.
Drugs and alcohol have a powerful influence on the brain to such an extent that prolonged substance abuse can cause permanent damage.
Although individuals will choose to have their first alcoholic drink or hit of cocaine, if they continue to use without seeking alcohol or drug abuse rehab, they will ultimately have a greatly reduced ability to quit on their own.
This is because the body becomes tolerant to the effects of substances after continued use, making it necessary to take more to get the desired effects.
This leads to people experiencing cravings for the substance when they are not using known as withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are generally flu-like to start with, which most people recognize as a hangover.
However, over time, they will become more severe and unless alcohol and drug abuse treatment is sought, potentially life-threatening. The only way of combating withdrawal symptoms is either by using again as soon as possible or completing detox in a supervised environment.
Myth About Addiction #2: Weekend Binge Drinking or Occasional Drug Use Is Not Addiction
Substance abuse comes in many forms and everyone experiences it differently in terms of how symptoms present. Many people falsely believe that occasional recreational use or binge drinking or drug-taking is not the same thing as being addicted.
Although this pattern of using alcohol and drugs to excess while forgoing them during the week may not seem to fit the stereotypical image of an addict, it is still recognized as substance abuse.
Much depends on the reason behind the person’s excessive substance use rather than the volume and regularity of their alcohol consumption or drug-taking. There is a strong correlation between addiction and other mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety and some chronic pain conditions including cancer.
Many people use drugs or alcohol as a mechanism to reduce the symptoms of something else, which can lead to them becoming addicted.
Myth About Addiction #3: You Have To Be Drunk or High Constantly To Be an Addict
One of the main reasons people become addicted to alcohol and drugs is because they become tolerant of their effects. This makes it physically impossible for them to be high or drunk all the time.
In fact, the more developed addiction is in the individual, the more drugs or alcohol they are able to consume without necessarily appearing drunk or high. This is one of the reasons it can be very difficult to spot when a person has a problem with substance abuse.
Myth About Addiction #4: If I Have a Job, I Can’t Be an Addict
Many people conceal substance abuse while holding down a responsible job and they are known as functioning addicts. This type of addict is able to perform very capably during the day even though they may be drinking or using drugs to excess the night before.
Some may even use substances through the day as a means to feed their addiction without anyone around them having the slightest idea there’s a problem
Functioning addicts are very often people who are ordinarily very much in control of their lives. They are known to be dedicated to their jobs, loyal and reliable and often hold senior positions with considerable responsibility.
Because of the personality type of a functioning addict, they seek to control their addictive behavior behind closed doors, although unless they seek drug abuse rehab treatment, the signs will eventually become clear to others.
Myth About Addiction #5: If I Can Stop Drinking or Using Drugs, I’m Not an Addict
Once a person has started to believe they are capable of quitting drugs or alcohol any time they wish to, the chances are their problem has gotten out of control. Many addicts attempt to quit unsuccessfully before they enter into a drug abuse rehab program and indeed, it is one of the characteristics of addiction illness.
The fact is that detox is incredibly challenging, making it virtually impossible for an addict to achieve alone.
Withdrawal symptoms and cravings can be overwhelming, dangerous and frightening and medical supervision is always recommended. Despite the challenges of detox, it is essential to rid the body of all the toxins accumulated as a result of substance abuse otherwise they will continue to have an influence on the individual.
Once detox has been completed, they can continue their healing in drug abuse rehabilitation to prepare for a healthy, substance-free life in recovery.
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