Drug addiction has become a widely prevalent condition today as millions of people across the globe are addicted to one or more recreational drugs. The condition is not only traumatic for the addicts but their families as well. However, it is completely treatable if detected and treated in time. But the biggest challenge is lack of awareness regarding drug addiction as there are many myths and misconceptions attached with it. Patients as well as their families need to be educated about addiction and its treatment so that they can handle it with the right approach. Here are 10 common drug addiction myths that need to be debunked:
- Everyone who uses drugs is addicted
Addiction is more than just taking drugs as people who exhibit certain symptoms are regarded as addicts. These symptoms include conflicts in relationships, lack of interest in one’s favorite activities, poor performance at school or work, change in sleep patterns and energy levels, drug tolerance, inability to stop use and withdrawal symptoms when not using drugs. The symptoms indicate that things are out of control and the person is actually addicted.
- It is easy to identify people at high risk
Another addiction-related myth is that you can easily identify high-risk groups based on their gender, family history, socio-economic background and educational background. But the fact is that there are no such criteria that serve as the benchmarks for segregating people at risk. Anyone and everyone can fall prey to drug addiction.
- One cannot be addicted to a prescription medication
People tend to believe that a medicine prescribed by a doctor is safe and non-addictive. This again is not true as several prescription medications have the potential for addiction. Medicines like opioids, sleeping pills, benzodiazepines, barbiturates and stimulants are likely to make a patient addicted if continued beyond a certain time limit without the doctor’s recommendation.
- Addicts can stop using whenever they want
Another misconception about drug addiction is that addicts can ditch the habit whenever they want to quit. But this is easier said than done as addiction itself is the loss of control, with the addict facing physical and mental withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, insomnia, irritability and depression when trying to de-addict. Most of the times, they need medical help for de-addiction and discontinuing when they want is practically impossible.
- People living a normal life are not addicted
A majority of addicts fail to realize their problem because they think that living a normal life indicates that they are not addicted. This is a myth because having normal relationships and a healthy career while still taking drugs does not mean that one is not addicted. Such people are referred to as high-functioning addicts and their condition deteriorates over a period of time.
- Addiction is a moral issue
A major myth about drug addiction is that it is a moral issue rather than a medical one. The probability of a person becoming addicted does not depend on his intention but rather on factors such as genetics, family upbringing, environmental factors and behavioral factors. People become addicts by choice and not by chance.
- Only hard drugs are addictive
Hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin have earned a bad reputation and are considered to be highly addictive. Despite the perceived risk associated with them, they are not the only dangerous ones. Every substance that can impair judgment and result in loss of control is addictive, even if it is not hard in nature. Even alcohol and tobacco can cause serious addiction issues.
- Rehab does not really work
A majority of people who want to get de-addicted are advised to take up rehabilitation after drug use. But there is a misconception that rehab does not really work as people still go into relapse. However, there is a need to understand that de-addiction is a long term program and recovery and relapse are a part and parcel of it. But rehab does help addicts to get back control.
- Support is not that important
Another mindset that people get wrong about addiction is that one can survive and get back to normal without support. The truth is that the support of family, friends and colleagues is as important as any medical treatment and rehabilitation program.
- A relapse signifies complete failure
Patients who go into relapse consider themselves a complete failure but this is one misconception that needs to be debunked. Every addict does go into relapse once or more during the recovery process. What really matters is to be motivated and try again.
Clearing these myths about drug addiction is really important as this can help you have the right attitude and right approach as you look for complete recovery.