There are so many myths and misconceptions surrounding substance addiction. While some might be true or contain some truth, many are simply inaccurate and can create unwarranted social problems for addicted individuals who have been stereotypically typecasted as a result. If you are planning to become an addiction counselling worker, you will soon learn all about the history, causes and treatments for addiction, and you will also uncover the truth behind certain addictions myths. Here are some of the most common ones debunked:
Myth #1: Natural Drugs are Safer than Synthetic Ones
Many people are firm believers in the safety of “natural” drugs. However, individuals holding an addiction counselling diploma know that all drugs—whether they are natural or synthetic—still have the ability to alter brain chemistry and cause dangerous side effects. This means that drugs like marijuana and “magic mushrooms” are harmful, even though they are grown naturally in the ground. In fact, studies have shown that marijuana, a natural drug, is just as dangerous as the synthetic LSD, and its dependence potential is much higher.
Myth #2: Someone Who Has a Stable Job Cannot Be Addicted
Anyone who has had addiction counsellors training understands that it is very possible for an individual struggling with drug or alcohol addiction to maintain a steady job and have a loving and caring family at the same time. People often think that if a person hasn’t hit rock bottom and is able to hold onto a job and family, they couldn’t possibly be addicted. However, this assumption is very inaccurate, as employers, spouses and family members will often be very tolerant or perhaps reluctant to address the problem.
Myth #3: Addiction Is a Result of Poor Judgement
All health care professionals know that this is one of the biggest misconceptions surrounding drug and alcohol addiction. It is crucial to understand that addiction is actually a complex brain disease and it is not merely a result of poor choices, nor is it a character flaw. While the decision to take drugs for the first time is of course voluntary, it is the repeated use of drugs that changes the brain’s structure and effects the way it functions. This can influence an individual’s self-control and create an intense impulse to consume more drugs. Experts know that just like many other diseases, it is possible for drug or alcohol addiction to be treated and managed effectively.
Myth #4: Treatment Doesn’t Work
The truth is that treatment does work; however, many people seem to think that there exists a “one size fits all” approach to treating addiction. Addiction counsellors know that this is not true, as there are actually many different treatment methods available and their effectiveness depends on the individual’s unique situation. While for some people, joining a recovery group might render positive results, others may prefer to seek one-on-one treatment, or perhaps even medication therapy. Though some might be skeptical about treating addiction with drugs, it’s important to know that studies have shown that medical treatment can actually reduce drug use by 40 – 60 per cent.
What are some other addiction myths that are commonly mistaken as fact?