Five Myths and Truths About Addiction

Posted by | Alcohol and Drug Use, Treatment Programs | June 30, 2015

People who have never experienced an addiction themselves have ideas about substance use that aren’t always true. Below are five myths about drugs, drinking, and addiction – as well as the truths behind them.

Myth: People who struggle with addiction tend to get addicted to one form of substance, such as alcohol.

Fact: Actually, people who struggle with addiction tend to have poly substance use. In other words, they might struggle with alcohol, but they might also develop an addiction to nicotine and perhaps marijuana. There is more frequently than not poly substance use among addicts.

Myth: People who are addicted to illegal drugs are different than those who are addicted to prescription drugs.

Fact: Because of the stigma that comes with an addiction to illegal drugs, people tend to believe that an addiction to prescription drugs is not as severe. However, this is absolutely not the case. In fact, recently, the large numbers of people hooked on prescriptions have turned to heroin and other illegal drugs when their prescription drugs could not be accessed. Prescription drugs cost money and require a prescription from a doctor, making them harder to get. However, heroin has dropped in price recently and has been an easy second choice for those who are addicted to opiates.

Myth: High tolerance to alcohol is proof that a person does not have a drinking problem.

Fact: When the body has adapted to alcohol or a drug, requiring more of it to achieve a certain effect, the body has developed a tolerance to that drug. Those who drink heavily without becoming intoxicated have probably developed a tolerance, which can indicate a dependency. High tolerance and dependency is the first few signs that can lead to alcoholism or alcohol addiction.

Myth: Your brain takes up to 48 hours to return to normal after a night of binge drinking.

Fact: It goes without saying that drinking heavily is going to have some medical consequences. The body will begin to deteriorate in a variety of ways. For instance, long-term alcohol consumption can affect nearly every organ in the body, including the brain. Heavy drinking can affect coordination, thiamine deficiency, and other forms of poor nutrition. Alcoholism can lead to illnesses having to do with the heart, such as hypertension and an irregular heartbeat. It can also cause impotence, irregular menstrual cycles, pancreatitis, stroke, confusion, and amnesia. Alcoholism can also wreak havoc on the functioning of the brain.

Myth: Addicts need to learn how to live life the proper way.

Fact:  Addicts tend to get easily judged as having done something wrong in life. They are often seen as creating their own problems and that addiction is a choice they made. However, addiction is now understood by experts as an illness. It’s an illness of the brain, one that is progressive and chronic. By exploring more and more about addiction, researchers have begun to understand that some people are genetically predisposed to experience addiction in their lives. Addiction is not an experience that people bring upon themselves. A number of factors go into the development of addiction in one’s life.

Addiction is commonly misunderstood among the public. The above are some myths and truths to correct some of those misunderstandings.

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