Updated January 23. 2020
In 2014, 20.2 million adults over the age of 18 had a substance use disorder.1 Although there are so many people who struggle with substance abuse, there are still many misconceptions about addiction in the general population. These misunderstandings can be harmful to both addicts and their loved ones.
There are many common misconceptions about drugs and alcohol, but even more myths about drug addiction that most people believe to be true. At Banyan Detox Boca Raton, we’re dispelling these myths and misconceptions about addiction. Instead, we are sharing the facts about alcoholism, drug addiction, and recovery in the hope that debunking these myths may lead more people to enter a Florida drug rehab for help.
One of the biggest myths about addiction is that it is just a series of bad choices. Many people also mistakenly believe that those who are using drugs or alcohol can stop using at any time. In reality, addiction is a disease, and it is very difficult to stop on your own. Addictive drugs can release ten times more dopamine than natural rewards and in a faster amount of time. This unusual and unnatural activity will actually negatively alter the reward system and reinforce this behavior.2 Once the addiction starts to take hold, the body and mind become completely dependent on the substance. Many addicts also suffer from mental health issues that only make their addiction worse. The best way to stop the addiction is with proper treatment like a dual diagnosis program that can address both issues formally.
There are many myths about drug addiction that can be dangerous, especially those regarding prescription drugs. Because these substances are legal and prescribed by a doctor, one of the common myths about addiction regarding these drugs is that they are safe and cannot lead to dependence. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and the opioid epidemic proves it. Prescription meds are actually highly addictive and can even be fatal if abused. In 2014, an estimated 1,700+ young Americans between the age of 18 to 25 alone overdosed that year from prescription drugs, and the overdose rate for prescription drugs was higher than any other drug for that age group.3 Not only can these substances be highly addictive if misused, but also detoxing from prescription painkillers can be deadly and should be done under the supervision of professionals.
One of the most common myths about addiction is that addicts are all homeless, living in decrepit housing, and are easy to pick out based on physical appearance alone. Many people also believe that most addicts are violent and dangerous criminals, but this is not the case, and many people may struggle with addiction without you realizing it. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. Many addicts have families and successful careers. According to combined data from the CBHSQ Report for 2008 to 2012, 9.5% of full-time workers from various industries age 18 to 64 had a substance use disorder.4 The NIH also suggests that 19.5% of alcoholics in the United States are part of the functional subtype that includes those who are “typically middle-aged, well-educated, with stable jobs and families.” 5 Just because someone appears to have their life together on the outside, doesn’t mean that they don’t have a substance abuse disorder. If you suspect a problem, look for common signs your loved one needs treatment to get them help immediately.
This is one of the most dangerous myths and misconceptions about alcohol because it undermines the disease that is alcoholism. Because drinking alcohol is considered socially acceptable, many people believe that alcohol abuse is not as serious or intense as drug addiction. In reality, alcoholism can take over someone’s life and lead to serious consequences with sometimes fatal outcomes. As of 2015, 15.1 million adults in the United States suffered from alcohol use disorder, and an estimated 88,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes every year.6 Alcoholism should not be taken lightly, and those who are suffering from alcohol addiction should seek help immediately. Our professional alcohol detox in Boca Raton can be lifesaving.
One of the many myths about addiction is that you should only seek treatment when circumstances get severe. In reality, the longer you wait to get treatment, the harder it is to stop. When your body becomes dependent on the drug, addiction can quickly spiral out of control. Addicts who hit rock bottom may lose their job, loved ones, and even their life. By that point, it may be too late. If you suspect that you or a loved one has a problem with drugs or alcohol, do not hesitate to get help immediately.
In breaking the myths about drug addiction, we’re also breaking misconceptions about treatment. Many people think that there’s only one path for addiction treatment, but this isn’t the case. There are, in fact, numerous approaches to tackling drug and alcohol addiction, and everyone requires a different method of treatment. Some people may respond differently to treatment, and as a result, they require a plan that is carefully tailored to their specific needs. While there are many forms of treatment out there, the common end goal is always long-term sobriety.