The Top Seven Myths About Addiction That Undermine Recovery

June 26, 2018

There are a lot of misconceptions about drug use and drug addiction. It is an issue that has touched most of our lives in one way or another, and everyone seems to have an opinion. This is understandable, but it can also be dangerous since these misconceptions can have real-life, sometimes fatal, consequences. Here are seven of the top myths and misconceptions that can undermine recovery:

1. Addicts could stop if they really wanted to.
It is common for those observing from the outside to wonder why an addict does not just stop using. Surely they could if they really wanted to. If they really loved me, for instance, or if they cared at all how their behavior hurt the people around them, surely they would stop. Except addiction is never that simple. An addict’s behavior will often alienate those around him or her, resulting in a sense of isolation that can exacerbate the user’s dependence. This, combined with the alteration in chemistry an addict’s brain has been shown to undergo, makes it a much more difficult proposition than simply “deciding” to quit.

2. Addiction only happens to certain kinds of people.
The preconceptions people carry around about what an addict “looks like” will often prevent them from realizing that either they or someone they are close to has a serious problem. Although, the stereotype of a typical “drug addict” will depend on the individual, no matter what kind of person is imagined, an essential fact is being overlooked — namely, that anyone, any “kind” of person, can become an addict. Addiction does not play favorites.

3. Addiction only happens to people without willpower.
Addiction happens for all kinds of reasons, it cannot be narrowed down to just one thing. Family issues, psychological problems, genetic predisposition, peer pressure; these are all possible causes of addiction. Add to this the intrinsically addictive properties of some drugs, both psychological and physical, and it becomes clear that it is not weakness or lack of resolve. Addiction can happen to anyone.

The folks at Ambrosia Treatment Center ( know about addiction and they know what it takes to beat it. They have years of experience helping those suffering from addiction get well, and are pleased to offer their clientele a variety of approaches and treatments to meet their needs.

4. If the drug was prescribed, then you cannot be addicted.
All too often people assume that as long as a doctor has prescribed a medication, it cannot lead to addiction. Far from being the case, prescribed medicines can be just as potent and habit-forming as illicit drugs. Sleeping pills, pain medicine, stimulants; these and other types of prescription drugs all have the potential to be abused.

5. If you are holding down a job, you cannot be an addict.
High-functioning addicts are all too common. Often, in an addict’s life, it is work that is the last domino to fall. Well after his or her home life, friendships, and health have deteriorated, it is still not uncommon for the addict’s work to carry on relatively unaffected–for the time being, that is.

6. In order for treatment to work, you’ve got to really want to do it.
The important thing about treatment is not wanting it so bad you cannot help but get better, the important thing is to do it in the first place. Studies show that people who say they hate the idea of rehab, but do it anyway, experience results no different from those with real enthusiasm for the process.

7. Loved ones cannot help.
It has often been said that, when it comes to recovery, an addict has to do it alone, that no one else can do it for them. While this is ultimately true, since no one can force another person to do the work recovery requires, it is also the case that an addict’s friends and family can have a big role in increasing his or chances at a successful recovery — not just as supporters and cheerleaders of his or her efforts, but also as promoters and examples of stability in the addict’s life. An addict trying to get better needs such people, people with a positive outlook and encouragement to offer, people who are reliable and consistent even when things get difficult.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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