Myths About Addiction
Urban myths: our world is full of them. From creepy stuff of lore (giant alligators, Big Foot and black-eyed children) to those silly wives’ tales our mothers would tell us such as, “Don’t swallow watermelon seeds or they’ll start a vine inside your stomach that’ll grow up and strangle you.” There are many myths about addiction as well.
And then there are more serious myths, myths that have a direct bearing on life and serious charges behind them.
Many myths about addiction have been perpetuated which tend to harm the detox and recovery mission so many rely on to straighten their lives.
This article highlights five of the most common addiction myths, some of which you may have already heard, but should nonetheless be warned to not let get in the way of yours or a loved one’s recovery.
MYTH #1: THE ADDICTION GENE
For decades dating back to the last century, scientists and the medical community have challenged themselves to find the real root of addiction in people. The collective thought was that an addiction gene is the culprit between a person becoming a substance abuser or not.
After much research, the so-called addiction gene has never been found, and as far as medical science is concerned, such a gene does not even exist.
Even if a person’s close relatives, such as parents or grandparents, are drug abusers, that doesn’t necessarily mean a child or sibling will also evolve into a user.
In fact, with many cases, due to the exposure of an alcoholic father or a strung out mother, a child’s penchant for taking drugs is greatly reduced.
If there is any connection between a relative’s drug use and that of a sibling or child, it is more due to the environment in which the child grows/has grown, than anything genetic.
MYTH #2: MARIJUANA IS A GATEWAY DRUG
Many in society, from pot purveyors to medical professionals, have effectively debunked the notion of marijuana as a gateway drug to other more powerful substances.
This is because marijuana has nowhere near the addictive properties of drugs like cocaine or heroin, etc. In fact, many have trouble believing marijuana is addictive at all.
If in the least, marijuana has a lower addiction rate than alcohol, and according to medical scientists, it has no history as being a trigger toward the use of stronger substances.
Researchers believe that if there is any credence to a gateway drug leading to more powerful drug use and abuse, the blame needs to fall squarely on prescription painkillers, which can be very powerful and highly addictive.
It is more likely a person will devolve from Percocet or OxyContin to heroin, than marijuana to heroin.
MYTH #3: ONCE AN ADDICT, ALWAYS AN ADDICT
This is an extremely unfair statement, especially when uttered to or in front of someone who is recovering from substance abuse. If in the least, it’s demoralizing, and not at all effective.
Scientifically, why such a statement is incorrect comes from the fact that addiction is a spectrum disorder. As an affliction, addiction is closely related to depression.
And as many people go through bouts of depression for a spectrum of reasons, the same is true with addiction.
Sure, there are many cases in which overcoming addiction abuse becomes for some, a life-long battle.
However, there are many instances in which drug use is simply walked away from, particularly in cases of short-term drug usage.
In fact, according to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, 75% of alcoholics recover without treatment.
As has been said many times, no one addiction is alike. People get hooked for many reasons, and get clean and remain clean for just as many reasons.
Blanket statements about being a lifelong addict does little to help anyone through their drug problem.
MYTH #4: YOU’RE RECOVERED, BUT YOU’RE ALSO DAMAGED GOODS
Another unfair belief in the wake of the difficulties an ex-addict has to go through, is to deem them as damaged goods even after a full and successful recovery.
Recovery should instead be looked at as an enormous achievement and a testimony to character. You’ve crushed opioid abuse, so what’s to prevent you from crushing a spreadsheet for a future employer.
You’ve sought to better yourself, to make yourself healthy, so who’s to say you have any less love for your family? After all, it was partly for them that you worked yourself down this hard and difficult road.
No, you’re more hero than goat when it comes to your recovery. Thinks of yourself as goods that can’t be damaged.
MYTH #5: REHAB WORKS BEST IF YOU’RE AT ROCK BOTTOM
Nothing can be farther from the truth regarding this statement. Not to mention it’s also a very dangerous statement to make, particularly to someone who is addicted.
Almost every rehabilitation center known urges both addicts and their loved ones to at least communicate with a rehab center as soon as a problem is detected. It can be very dangerous to let an addiction problem continue.
Accidents can happen, overdoses may occur, or even something as unsettling as family dynamics falling apart have their possibilities when a person needs treatment.
As for rock bottom, usually that means dead. No one should wait that long to take action.
To the myth spreader who thinks they know what they’re talking about in regard to addiction: do some reading, speak with a few successful ex-addicts living full lives, and learn some facts. If you perpetuate addiction myths such as the five above, you clearly do not know what you’re talking about.
And to the addict who has heard these and other false myths about addiction: ignore them, stay directed and strong. Worry only about yourself and how you handle your recovery. It matters little what anyone else thinks or says.
If you feel you or a loved one has an issue with substance abuse, contact BLVD Treatment Centers. At BLVD Treatment Centers we custom tailor our recovery programs within the safe and nurturing confines of our rehab treatment centers. Located throughout California, in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and in Portland, OR, our mission is to assess the severity of your addiction to help you achieve true recovery within 30 days. Call us now at 1-866.582.9844.