Myths About Drug & Alcohol Addiction
Don’t Believe Everything You Hear
Myth: Drug and alcohol addiction is hereditary
About 50 percent of drug addiction tendencies are related to genes, but there isn’t one addiction gene. Even if there were, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the children of an addict will be addicts, too. Though an addiction gene isn’t passed down, impulsivity may be. Impulsivity could make children more likely to use drugs or alcohol to cope with problems.
Myth: Addicts won’t accept help until they reach rock bottom
Every day, interventionists help addicts who are not at this point. Interventionists use a strategy to make sure that treatment begins as soon as possible. The earlier you can offer help to an alcoholic or drug addict, the more likely he or she will accept it. After they’re deep in addiction, it’s harder to pull them up. Also, even though everyone’s rock bottom is different, there’s still supposed to be nowhere else to go. Why wait for then to hold out a helping hand? When you do, it could be too late.
Myth: A drug addict or alcoholic can stop if he or she really wants to
Quitting drugs or saying no to alcohol isn’t easy. At first, an addict makes the decision to use a drug and it’s done occasionally. Continued use harms the person’s brain in way that may be noticeable or hardly so. This damage causes him or her to crave alcohol or drugs even more. Usage is no longer a voluntary act, but rather a compulsive one.
Myth: For an addict to recover, he or she has to want to get better
Recovery is possible, whether an addict enters rehab voluntarily or is forced. Research shows that if an addict is legally mandated to attend rehab, he or she has just as good of a chance to recover. It doesn’t matter how the person gets into rehab, just that he or she is there.
Myth: If an addict goes back to substance abuse after leaving rehab, he or she won’t ever be able to recover.
Relapse happens, most often within a few months following treatment. Relapse can be triggered in ways beyond an addict’s control. If the person runs into someone from his or her drug-using and drinking days or passes a street that brings back memories of substance abuse, it’s easy to feel the temptation. People are going to believe what they want to believe, whether it’s true or not. But if you’re an addict, or a friend or family member of one, you don’t have to stand on the sideline when you hear someone speak falsely about addiction. The more that you know, the more you can educate him or her.