Addiction is one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses, mainly due to people not understanding the role that substances can play and the impact they can have. The media also often portrays people who are addicted to substances as criminals or up to no good. This negative image has caused many people to demonize the illness and perceive those who struggle with it through the lens of a stereotype.
What most people don’t understand is that people who are struggling with addiction are battling a chronic long-term illness, just like other chronic illnesses such as diabetes or asthma. While these conditions do not yet have a cure, there are ways to ensure they stay manageable and that people stay healthy. Through substance abuse treatment, those struggling with addiction can receive a second chance and improved ways to handle day-to-day life. Here are some of the most common myths that shroud addiction:
Myth #1: Addiction Is a Choice
While it may seem that those who abuse substances seem to know what they are doing and choose to use drugs, this isn’t something that they do with full knowledge. Being identified as a chronic disease has shown that drug addiction has various factors that play into how people develop the illness. While the environment, traumas, mental illnesses, and low points in life can trigger it, most suffer from addiction due to genetics. People are born with the predisposition, and something down the lines of their lives triggers it to turn into a full-blown disease.
Myth #2: Addiction Is Only Visible in Drugs and Alcohol
Despite the most common addictive substances being drugs and alcohol, some people have addictive personalities, manifesting in other life areas. Some people are addicted to the high they get from gambling, while others can abuse sex and even what most call “retail therapy.” This cross-addiction is why many substance abuse clinics recommend not venturing into any activities that might trigger other areas.
Myth #3: Drug Addicts Are Bad People
Addiction isn’t a choice, which means that the disease often fuels those who develop personality disorders to do reckless or irresponsible activities. No one wants to become addicted, but the way genetics and a person’s environment plays into the picture means that their actions while high are not reflective of who they are.
Myth #4: Substance Abuse Treatment and Opioid Treatment Is the End-Game
Substance abuse clinics are never the end-game. In fact, recovery is a lifelong struggle that requires plenty of care and even recurring treatment to remain steady, clean, and sober. The process of recovery entails a lot of hard work and constant monitoring to stay on track. Even those who are decades into recovery can relapse if they become complacent, which means ensuring the right care is integral in staying clean and sober.
Myth #5: Relapsing Means You Have Failed
Relapse is a known part of recovery, which is why the word exists in the first place. Drug dependence has been deeply rooted in most people, and chronic illnesses always have a relapse rate. Life is definitely tricky, but relapsing is never something to be ashamed of, especially if you are ready to address it. Be proud that you have the courage to take on a mental illness that is often debilitating, as well as the strength to get better.
Find Solace in Substance Abuse Clinics
Helping those who struggle with addiction to get better means understanding the myths that shroud their condition. People believe many things about those who use drugs, but shedding light on the topic will help them to be more supportive. Lending a hand means understanding that those who struggle with addiction are normal people who just happen to be battling an illness that requires specialized care.
Getting help for substance abuse does not have to be difficult anymore, as substance abuse clinics that treat various patients exist today. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, consider visiting American Treatment Network in Havertown, PA, for a complete range of care. Contact us to get help today.