Addiction Myths: Exposing the Stigma Around Addiction

The common perception of addiction and people who suffer from addiction are constantly negative. Addiction is often blamed on the individual and their personal choices. However, the truth is that anyone can suffer from addiction. It does not matter their age, gender, or financial situation. There is no mold for who can be addicted. These common addiction myths can be damaging to people who are ashamed to get help and those who are actively working toward recovery. 

In order to discredit the stigma of addiction, we must first learn the facts and understand why these myths can be so harmful.

What Is the Stigma Around Addiction?

A stigma is a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. The stigma associated with addiction stems from inaccurate and outdated beliefs about the condition. Unfair labels are given to people who are struggling with a treatable condition. 

There are many misconceptions and stereotypes given to those who struggle with addiction. The most common misconception is that a person’s addiction is their own moral failing or character flaw. This thinking can dissuade people from receiving the treatment they need to overcome this condition. Although this type of judgment usually comes from outsiders, it is possible that people who battle addiction can share these same thoughts. Sometimes, medical professionals may not treat those with substance use disorders. 

The truth about addiction is that it is a treatable but chronic condition. Substance use can alter a person’s brain chemistry and affect their health. While this may be apparent to the addicted individual, it does not mean they can simply stop. When the body becomes dependent on a substance, quitting cold turkey can be highly uncomfortable.

Substance use can also affect a person’s health and personal relationships. It can cause them to lose interest in the things they might have loved before, resulting in behaviors that can ruin relationships. 

What You’ve Heard vs. The Facts 

In order to break the stigma around addiction, it is essential that the facts available are accurate. Here are some common misconceptions about addiction and the truth about them. 

Addiction Is a Choice

Many assume that people struggling with addiction deserve what they are going through because their choices led them there. This misconception may also be in the mind of a person with an addiction. 

This is a myth. Addiction is not a choice. While the initial use of a substance was a choice, the addiction that stemmed from that choice is not. Addictive substances can create a feeling that keeps an individual returning for more. The “high” and the sense of relief or euphoria that is given can inspire more frequent use of a substance. Addiction is a gradual process. It can take months or even years to develop an addiction. 

Addicts Are Bad People

The myth that people with an addiction are bad comes from situations where people have been violent or committed harmful acts under the influence. Some people may also believe that every person with an addiction is a criminal. This could not be further from the truth and is a dangerous mindset.

Many people who battle addiction have lives similar to the average person. There are various substances that one could become addicted to. Each has different effects on the behaviors of the person who uses it. While it is common for the face of addiction in the media to be an abusive spouse or nonchalant teenager, there is no blueprint for who can be an addict. 

Addicts Are or Have Bad Parents

When faced with a situation as severe as addiction, the natural human response is to find someone to blame. People may look at a person with an addiction and decide that their parents are not giving them the attention they need or that they are bad parents. This is another myth that needs to be addressed. 

Not everyone with an addiction is the product of a broken home. On the other hand, not everyone with children and an addiction can qualify as a bad parent. As mentioned before, the initial use of a substance is usually elective. However, addictions manifest in several ways that may not be noticed until too late. 

Why the Addiction Myths Are Harmful

Myths surrounding addiction can result in dangerous consequences. There are so many people around the world who are not getting the help they need because of these myths. Whether they believe these misconceptions or fear the judgment of people around them who believe them, these myths need to be put to rest and help can be given where it is required. Here are some ways that addiction myths can hinder recovery.

  • These myths can impact the perceptions of healthcare workers and hinder them from providing proper care to individuals with substance use disorders. 
  • These myths can decrease an individual’s willingness to get the support they need.
  • These myths can create unnecessary anger and fear in the general population, resulting in a lack of understanding and sympathy.

Breaking the Stigma 

No matter who you are or your status, there is no harm in educating yourself and those around you. Addiction myths are not based on facts. They are based on assumptions and inadequate education about the topic. To do your part in reducing the spread of addiction myths, beware of the language you use and show the same level of respect to everyone. 

The Encino Detox Center: Spreading the Truth About Addiction

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, call The Encino Detox Center. There is no shame in asking for help. Our programs are personalized based on individual needs, and our team will be there every step of the way. We are committed to providing proper education that debunks any myth you may have heard. We understand how difficult it can be to battle addiction. For this reason, we ensure you have the best support and teach you the best ways to heal and grow in recovery. Contact our team now to verify your insurance and get started.

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