Do you know the truth about addiction? Much of what most people know or rather think they know, is perpetuated through the media by myths and stereotypes. Before it is ever possible to fully comprehend and resolve a problem, it is important that you know the facts. That is why people may benefit when we address five blatant lies you may believe.
We Have Isolated the Genes Responsible
It is widely debated that genetics may play an important role in whether someone develops a dependence on drugs or alcohol, and if so, to what extent. Furthermore, it would be foolish and untrue to suggest that we are ‘predetermined’ to become addicted. It is true that some people are far more prone to developing dependence than others are, but that does not mean that others could not develop problems with dependency or that these people with a genetic predisposition are somehow ‘doomed’.
You are an Addict for Life
While the initial twelve-step treatment model suggests that this is true, our current understanding of dependence suggests that substance abuse occurs on a spectrum. Some people may struggle with the same issues for years, but many are short-term users who only use momentarily. Whether it is a long-term or short-term battle, it is possible for someone to live a sober life if they are provided with the right guidance and treatment.
It is Important to Hit ‘Rock Bottom’ before Seeking Help
This is not only untrue, but also dangerous. The first thing that people need to understand is that different people would have a different ‘rock bottom’. This means that this is an incalculable concept. However, studies have shown that successful recovery is not correlated to the number of negative consequences. This belief sometimes gives friends and family a chance to turn a blind eye and stop attempting to help the person recover. They may tell themselves “we cannot do anything until they hit rock bottom.” If the user is motivated to make a change, it is possible to recover at any stage.
It ‘Fries’ Your Brain
Some people refuse to seek treatment because they believe that their brains have already experienced irrevocable damage. Especially the public service message in the 80s that showed “your brain on drugs” really promoted the idea that drug abuse causes irreversible damage. While it is true that certain illicit substances may lead to brain damage, it is NEVER too late to seek help. It is true that an overwhelming majority of people struggling with these issues can get better with professional counseling during extended periods of time.
Marijuana is a ‘Gateway Drug’
There are plenty of reasons that might detract people from using marijuana, but this is not one of them. While it is true that most people do not try harder substances without trying marijuana first, there is no scientific evidence that suggests that it is a ‘gateway drug’. However, this does not mean that it does not have its share of dangers and problems.
Make sure that you do not let these lies stop you from getting the help you need. If you are ever unsure, remember that asking qualified counselors is a far superior option than relying on hearsay and other negative information.