5 Myths About Addiction: Debunked
Addiction is a complex issue that affects every aspect of a person’s life. People who abuse substances often experience short and long-term damage to their physical, emotional, and social health. Their addiction also negatively impacts their loved ones and community. Even though addiction is such a serious issue, many people struggle with addiction without support. People who require treatment may attempt to manage their addiction alone because of misinformation or myths. Some of these beliefs discourage people from getting the help they need and deserve.
At Comprehensive Wellness Centers, we work with people to support them as they overcome their addiction. Recovery is possible. We want to encourage you to get the help you need by debunking five of the most common myths about addiction.
Myth 1: It is Impossible to Be an Addict If You Have a Job
A common myth is that being addicted to drugs or alcohol means that they can’t function in their daily life. Many people believe that people who live with addiction can’t work or go to school. We may think that the signs of addiction are clear, drastic, and obvious. This incorrect belief may lead us to assume that someone is OK when they are actually struggling. Or, it could make someone believe that as long as they’re able to work, they don’t need treatment.
The truth: People from all walks of life struggle with addiction. Addiction often wreaks havoc on a person’s physical and emotional health before it is recognizable to the outside world. Being able to go to work doesn’t necessarily mean that your addiction is manageable.
Myth 2: You Have to Hit “Rock Bottom” Before Getting Help
The concept of “hitting rock bottom” is common in our culture. Many people believe that addiction is a downward spiral that can only be addressed when the person is at their very lowest. Unfortunately, this myth results in many people believing that their addiction is not serious or dangerous enough to require treatment. They may struggle for years and suffer damage to their physical, social, and emotional health before finally seeking treatment. It also means that people may not offer support because their loved one’s addiction doesn’t seem severe enough to address.
The truth: The earlier you seek treatment for your addiction, the better the long-term outcome. You do not have to wait until you have lost everything. Seeking treatment as soon as you recognize a problem is the best way to address addiction. If you have concerns about someone you love, speak up. It’s never too early to treat addiction–but it can be too late.
Myth 3: Relapse Equals Failure
If you have gone through treatment but relapsed, you might believe that you have failed addiction treatment. It is a misconception that setbacks and relapse means that treatment hasn’t worked or that the addiction is too severe to overcome.
The truth: Relapse can be a normal part of recovery. Many people relapse and restart treatment during their journey to lifelong recovery. A relapse is not a failure. Instead, it could be a signal that you need a different level of care, more help managing triggers, or a new kind of support.
Myth 4: Addiction is a Character Flaw
People who struggle with addiction are often portrayed in popular media as weak or flawed. Some may believe that there are people who are strong enough to avoid addiction while others just “give in”.
The truth: Addiction is a complex issue that we don’t fully understand. Over time, we have developed effective ways to treat addiction, but there are still many unanswered questions. Research suggests that some people are more susceptible to addiction than others. We know that there are physical, emotional, and social factors involved in addiction and that these can vary from one person to the next. With all the unanswered questions there are, we know for certain that addiction has nothing to do with a person’s character.
Myth 5: Overcoming Addiction Simply Requires More Willpower
Another common myth about addiction is that recovery is as simple as walking away from the liquor cabinet and checking into a rehab center. People may mistakenly believe that if someone is abusing drugs or alcohol, it is because they choose to, or that they lack the willpower to stop themselves, or that they enjoy using substances so much that they are not willing to even attempt to stop.
The truth: Addiction changes the way people’s brains and bodies function. Over time, people can develop a physical dependence on drugs or alcohol and can experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop suddenly. There are many physical, emotional, and environmental triggers that make it hard for people to stop using substances even if they desperately want to.
Learn More About Addiction Treatment at Comprehensive Wellness Centers
Debunking the most popular myths about addiction is an important step in allowing people to get the help they deserve. People who struggle with substance abuse need compassionate, comprehensive treatment in order to overcome their addiction and maintain sobriety for life. At Comprehensive Wellness Centers, we offer programs that empower people to get sober. We work collaboratively with people so they can learn the skills they need so they can live full, healthy lives without substances. If you are ready to take the first step in recovery, we will walk the rest of the way with you. Call now to speak to our admissions counselors.
Medically Reviewed: April 20, 2021
Medical Reviewer | CWC Recovery Staff
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.