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The Many Myths About Drug Addiction; How do you support a recovering addict?
How have the views of addiction changed?
The truth is, drugs have been around for a long time, I mean a very long time. The idea of chemicals that alter the way the mind functions is not a new idea. There are cultures all around the world that have ancient historical use of mind-changing substances for religious purposes. Each culture has its own form, and also has had its own group of people that have had their problems with it.
Drug addiction began to be more known as media grew to be able to spread information more quickly. Drug addiction started its powerful rise in the 1960s, with the flower-power, drug induced music movement. This was the first time that media and peer pressure made mind-altering drugs into a symbol of being "cool". Instantly teens and young adults all over the world were hooked.
When drug addictions started to get increasingly out of control, the world did not take kindly to those suffering. Drug addicts were viewed as immoral and corrupt people. Society thought they were making a choice out of freewill and should be treated as criminals. Even those seeking help to overcome their addictions, were turned away.
Through extensive research and study, the view on drug addiction has begun to shift. Through drug addicts still obviously have a horrible reputation and there are still criminal actions being taken against those in possession of illegal drugs, the view on the mentality of these people is starting to improve. We understand that a drug addict has a very serious mental health and brain disease. Treatment has to involve a medical and mental health evaluation and plan.
Myth # 1: Drug Addiction is a choice made of the addict out of freewill
This is unfortunately an argument that many people still make. These people assume that a drug addiction is a character flaw of the individual. They are continuing to choose their drug and hurting themselves and the people that love them.
Study has shown that there are very serious changes that happen within the brains of addicts. Though, the very first initial taking of a drug might have been a choice, the addiction that developes was never a choice. The damage that takes place within the brain causes the addict to do things that they normally would never consider.
Drug addicts do not choose to be dependant on their substances.
- The Science Behind Addiction
Drug addiction is a highly controversial subject. it is much debated on whether an addiction was a moral issue or a real disorder. Here, we examine what a drug addiction really does to the brain.
Myth #2: An addict can quit any time they choose to
Much like myth #1, this myth is also associated with the idea that an addiction is simply a matter of choice. It has been debated for year, but science and psychology shows us that an addiction is a very complicated brain disease. Therefore, recovery must incorporate mental health nd overall health practices into it.
- Addiction; Is it a Really a Disease?
Addiction, is it a mental disease, a genetic disorder or just a choice of the individual?
Myth #3: An addict must choose to get help on their own
This is like saying that an addict must be left to suffer on their own because there is nothing that can be done for them. This is a horrible way to look at the situation and instead of being a harsh truth, it is a false statement that can cause an addict to feel even more alone and desperate.
An addict that is forced into rehab is just as likely to succeed as a person that chooses to go into rehab voluntarily. The first step to recover is detox. The substance must be cleared from the addict's body before they can began to think clearly. Even a forced rehab visit, can turn into the best thing that ever happened to the addict.
As well, the comfort that comes from family and friends that love and care for the addict goes a long way. The depression that is carried into an addiction causes a great deal of mental anguish for the addict. Knowing that someone cares for them enough to help them through this difficult time can greatly impact the recovery process.
Myth #4: An addict must hit rock bottom before beginning treatment
This myth can be incredibly dangerous. An addiction is something that steadily gets worse. It may start out as something that others don't even notice. The problem with just letting an addiction go, is the physical damage that it brings. The longer a person is taking drugs, the more they are detroying their bodies and brains.
An addiction needs to be confronted right from they very beginning. If you notice that a friend or family member is showing signs of an addiction, seek help as soon as possible. Some of the destruction of long term drug use is irreversible.
Myth #5: Addicts usually come from low socio-economic backgrounds
While it is true that being exposed to drugs and the environments of an addiction can lead to an addiction in a person, this does not necessarily mean that they have to be of poverty. Addicts come from all walks of life; the extremely rich, the poor, teenagers, adults, etc. No one is immune to becoming an addict no matter how privileged they may be.
It is common for media to show addicts as poor, uneducated people who live in the seediest parts of town. In reality, a person living in a two million dollar house could be an addict.
What can be done?
The best possible outcome for a drug addict is for the addiction to be controlled. The early it is treated, the more likely it will be for the person to overcome the side effects. The longer they use drugs, the more likely they are to do permanent damage to themselves.
If you or a loved one is suffering from drug addiction, call 1-800-662-HELP to find a treatment center near you. Or visit http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov