Perpetuating Stigmas: Commonly Believed Addiction Myths

addiction myths

Addiction is a growing concern for American citizens as the number of overdoses and individuals seeking help for addictions has steadily increased since the early 2000s. One major problem for helping these individuals is the negative stigma placed on addiction in this country. Instead of reaching out for help, many individuals shun addicted individuals and assume that drug addicts are willingly destroying their own lives. These harmful stigmas can keep people who would otherwise benefit from treatment from receiving the help they need because they are too embarrassed or filled with shame. Determining and confronting addiction myths can help reduce the effects of the harmful stigmas that surround addiction in our society and lead to many individuals deciding to get help.

Myth #1: Addiction is not a disease, it’s a choice.

No one chooses addiction. Obviously, the individual chooses to use a drug initially. But, the decision to use a drug may be caused by any number of reasons. For example, an individual may take a Xanax to self-medicate anxiety undiagnosed by a psychologist. Since it seems to work, she continues to take a Xanax every day. Eventually, she needs more to experience the same effects and starts to double the dose. Finally, without her daily doses of Xanax, she begins to experience withdrawal symptoms and only uses Xanax as a means to function normally. So, at first, drug use may be a result of an underlying condition. But, addiction is never the goal; it’s never intentional. The goal of an addict is to always feel better. Addiction is usually an end result of choosing to manage underlying symptoms with drugs.

Myth #2: Addicts have a lack of willpower which is why they become addicts.

This is one of the most damaging and hurtful stigmas surrounding addiction throughout the entire world. Granted, individuals who believe this must not personally know anyone that has ever struggled with addiction. Addiction has no bias and can affect anyone no matter social status, family relationship, financial wealth, career choice, and morality. Since addiction affects an individual on both a physical and psychological level, quitting is way easier said than done. Even the toughest of individuals, mentally and physically, can struggle with addiction. It’s not a matter of willpower, it’s a matter of chemical imbalance, illness, and underlying mental conditions.

Myth #3: The only way she’ll get help is by hitting rock bottom.

Contrary to popular belief, an individual doesn’t have to hit rock bottom to discover that treatment is necessary for healing from addiction. “Hitting rock bottom” is a commonly used phrase in the treatment community that describes when an individual has literally nowhere else to go besides treatment. This lack of options leads to the eventual epiphany that the individual does in fact struggle with addiction. Hitting rock bottom is usually due to a slow and gradual process of experiencing the inevitable consequences of using drugs. Although hitting rock bottom does cause many individuals to recognize their denial and seek treatment help, it is not the only way people decide to go to treatment. Another common way that people end up going to treatment is through intervention. These are meetings composed of family members and loved ones that offer the addicted individual influential ultimatums so that the choice for treatment is made. Sometimes, getting help before hitting rock bottom can prevent heavy and unwanted consequences, so intervention is a great way to help people get the treatment they need.

Myth #4: Sober living homes are a waste of time and money.

Obviously, everyone can have their own opinions on various treatment approaches. But, the numbers don’t lie. According to a 5-year study conducted by US National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health, after 6 months residing in a sober living environment, individuals in recovery have reduced risks in areas including psychological symptoms, the risk for illegal issues, relapse, and losing work. Often times, residential and outpatient treatment programs do not prepare enough information or give enough time to implement the practice of various sobriety skills. Sober living allows individuals to live with peers who have experienced addiction themselves and receive support from the recovery community. Additionally, it can help individuals stay accountable for their sobriety. Also, sober living helps individuals who have lived with active addiction assimilate back into society successfully and without dependence on an addictive substance.

Discover more Addiction Myths for Yourself!

Do you think you or a loved one may benefit from a women’s sober living facility? Stand up against these addiction myths and the negative impact of addiction stigmas. Give The Lily Pad at St. Augustine a call to learn more about our sober living options at 561-758-1011.


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