Among all the problems that plague our society, substance addiction is perhaps one of the most misunderstood.
We are all aware that addiction is something that numerous people face daily. However, what many of us do not know is how grave the circumstances are. Statistics show that one out of every seven Americans will encounter problems with substance abuse in their lifetime. Currently, 20 million people in the U.S. have substance use disorders.
These are numbers that we do not really get acquainted with unless we intentionally seek them out. The extent of our knowledge regarding substance abuse and addiction is likely limited to stories that we have heard, read, or watched.
Due to our lack of knowledge, it is plausible that those who are suffering from addiction, or know someone who is battling it, may think that sober living for women and men is near impossible. But the truth is that yes, it is difficult but possible.
Considering this, one of the ways we can help with the situation is by educating ourselves. One way to do this is by debunking the myths surrounding addiction.
Myth: Addiction is borne out of free will.
This is perhaps the most common misconception. In this context, it is important to note that substance abuse and addiction, while often interchanged, are completely different concepts.
Both have pernicious effects, yes, but abuse entails that the individual still has control over their lives. Those who are addicted to certain substances do not, and may find that their dependence is affecting numerous aspects of their lives.
We should then understand that addiction is not a choice. And neither is it a moral failing on the part of those who find themselves dependent on either opioids, street drugs, or alcohol.
This widespread belief should have been rid of long ago since there are numerous studies that point out several key factors that can lead to addiction, none of which are free will.
One factor that is known to lead to addiction is genetic predisposition, and we have no control over our genes. Unfortunately, this means that those of us who are closely related to those who have dealt with addiction are more likely to suffer the same fate.
Myth: Addiction is curable.
Similar to other chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases, it is possible to treat and manage addiction but it is not something that can be cured.
Sobriety is something to celebrate, but there is always a risk of relapsing for people who were once addicted to different substances. This does not mean that they are incapable of changing, though. It just means that they have to be more conscious of their decisions, and the environments that they are in.
With these most common myths debunked, people who have never had to deal with addiction rather closely are hopefully more educated on the matter. Consequently, the eradication of the stigma surrounding abuse and addiction becomes more feasible, as more and more people familiarize themselves with the facts.