Drug addiction is a problem for millions of people. For some it started as an escape, for others it was a way to cope with problems. Calling addiction a condition brings up the connotation of a disease. For many former addicts who would give advice on quitting, this can be a part of the harmful mythology about drug addiction.
Let’s Talk Myths
Drug addiction can be mild or severe, needing that cup of coffee first thing in the morning or wanting to avoid withdrawal from heroin. The latter can lead to behaviours that the addict might never have thought him or herself capable of. It might help addicts to know that others have been through similar experiences and have come out the other side. Unfortunately, these misconceptions about drug addiction can make addicts put off starting their post drug journeys.
1. Addiction Is Hereditary
At least half of the cause for addiction can be a lack of coping mechanisms. This means that half of the cause of addiction is heredity. Studies have shown that it isn’t simply Mom abusing drugs leading directly to all her kids using drugs. Even twins coming from the same household will behave differently when it comes to drug addiction.
2. The Gateway Myth
Marijuana is vilified as the gateway. In this myth, someone tries pot and is suddenly more susceptible to harder drugs such as cocaine. In reality, alcohol, cigarettes or prescription medicines can be as likely to lead to harder drug addictions.
3. Once An Addict, Always An Addict
Much to the detriment of people who have overcome addiction is this notion that a person will always be an addict. A high percentage of former addicts go on to become productive members of society. This myth causes distrust from potential employers and in personal relationships, retarding the addict’s recovery.
4. Permanent Brain Damage
Drug abuse does cause some damage. Once an addict has stopped using the drug, however, there is strong evidence to suggest he or she will return slowly to normal thought processes. There’s no need to view former drug addicts as defective.
5. Bottoming Out
Supposedly, there can be no recovery from serious drug addiction until the addict hits bottom. An irrevocable event must slap the addict in the face. Many addicts quit using, knowing their lives would be better without drugs, yet they never woke up in the gutter or faced prison time.