Addicts are not bad people, despite common myths about addiction saying otherwise. Popular opinion, television shows and sensational media stories all combine to give the impression addicts are self-centered and weak, lacking self-control.
Perhaps these myths exist because people are uncomfortable talking about addiction. People fear what they don’t understand, and it’s difficult for someone who never experienced substance abuse to understand the powerful hold it can have on a person.
The news media certainly doesn’t help. Given the choice between a human-interest story on successful addiction centers and a sensational piece on what can happen when someone uses “bath salts”, they will opt for the latter.
Misconceptions about addiction are common, influencing family members and even those suffering from substance abuse problems themselves. Feelings of shame and low self-worth are common in addicts, in part because society clings to the belief that addiction is a character flaw.
It’s important to note that addiction is not a character flaw, but a disease with both physical and mental symptoms. Abused substances cause physical changes to the brain, resulting in cravings, depression and other symptoms.
When people dismiss addicts as “bad” or lacking in will power, they’re affirming their own superiority — or so they think. No one is immune to addiction or substance abuse. Under the wrong circumstances, anyone can develop substance abuse problems.
Addicts come from all walks of life — addiction does not recognize social standing, wealth, race or religion. However, multiple factors influence your risk of substance abuse, such as
family history, stress and genetics. Although these factors increase addiction risk, they don’t cause addiction.
Addiction is a disease capable of affecting anyone. The sooner we replace fears and misconceptions about substance abuse with understanding and concern, the easier it will be for addicts to seek the help they need.
Staying in addiction centers is a necessary part of addiction treatment. Clients do best when their unique needs are addressed and they can focus solely on recovery. At Clarity Way we treat the entire person, talking a holistic approach to healing that addresses the physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Posted on January 2nd, 2013 in Blog