Are You Aware of These Seven Common Myths About Addiction?

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Common Myths About Addiction?

Are You Aware of These Seven Common Myths About Addiction?


1.    All people that use drugs are addicts.  If all people that take drugs are addicts, than those who take an aspirin for a headache, are addicts.  Current statistics indicate that 15% of those who try cocaine become addicted and 12% of those who drink alcohol become addicted.  This means that there is a high percentage of people who use cocaine and alcohol who do not become addicted.  Addiction is as unique as the individuals who use substances, engage in gambling activities, or who drink alcohol.  Addiction has more to do with reasons for use, the drug of choice, and the different rates in which an addiction can start.

2.    If you can go to work after drinking or using drugs, then you are not an addict.  The truth is many addicts go to work or school every day.  Just because a person goes to work or school has little to do with an addiction.  As with any addiction, an addict’s behavior occurs on a continuum.  Some people are considered “higher functioning” and can go to work or school but still exhibit the signs and symptoms of an addiction.

3.    An addict can stop whenever they want.  There are some that believe engaging in drug or drinking behavior is a conscious choice and the addict makes the choice to keep using.  An addiction is a dependence on something and continued use despite negative consequences. Addiction is also tied to tolerance and withdrawal meaning using more of the drug to achieve the same results and the appearance of withdrawal symptoms when the drug of choice is stopped.

4.    Addicts are weak willed.  Addicts are not weak willed and this stereotype affects many with an addiction.  Addicts encompass a variety of individuals with different backgrounds, childhood experiences, psychological and social problems, and family histories. Addiction does start with a single use or engagement in an activity, which many argue are a choice at least in the beginning.  This does not mean that the person chooses to be an addict.  Addiction is affected by many factors most of which are not within the “will” of the individual.

5.    Addicts are typically from broken homes, unemployed, and involved in criminal activity.  This could not be further from the truth.  Addiction knows no boundaries in terms of our socioeconomic status or our background.  Addicts come from all backgrounds and lines of work. Doctors, lawyers, judges, educational professionals, and many more have problems with addiction.  Addiction does not care who you are or what you do for a living.  It does not care what type of home you were raised in or how much money you make.

6.    One cannot be addicted to prescription medications.  If a medication is prescribed by a physician, then it is safe and non-addictive.  The truth is many medications prescribed by physicians are highly addictive.  These include benzodiazepines, sleep aids, ADHD medication or other stimulants, and prescription opioids such as oxycodone and fentanyl.

7.    Only hard drugs like heroin and cocaine are dangerous.  Any substance no matter how “hard” can be addictive.  Alcohol may not be considered a “hard” drug but many individuals have an addiction to alcohol.


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