Most of us have our own ideas or perceptions of what an addict looks like. These misunderstandings and myths about addiction can make it harder for addicts to seek treatment and return to a normal life.
You may have heard things like ‘Once an addict, always an addict’ or ‘it’s the addiction gene’. Such myths that were created to scare children away from drugs didn’t serve their purpose but made it even more difficult for addicts to seek treatment and bring their life back on the right track.
There is no single gene, nor a set of genes that ascertain whether or not a person will become an addict. There is no such thing as ‘addiction gene’!
‘Once an addict, always an addict’ is one of the most prevalent addiction myths. According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, 75% of alcoholics recover without treatment. People can put the past behind them and lead normal lives.
Addicts are taken for mad, maniacal, lunatic and psychotic persons. They are discriminated on the basis of their addiction. But, they are never considered as someone who struggles from drug dependence on a daily basis.
It is not as simple as exercising enough willpower. It is not a choice but a result of environmental factors such as family life, upbringing and peer influences.
If it’s a prescription, it is considered safe. Nobody believes that something your doctor prescribes can be addictive too. Most medications are perfectly safe if taken in the prescribed dosage, but their prolonged use can be dangerous.
What is your idea of an addict? Most people believe that an addict is someone who is involved in criminal behaviours, and has a host of interpersonal issues. They are not considered a part of society. However, there are many addicts who provide for their families and are involved in family activities without appearing to be an addict.
Anyone can have a drug or alcohol problem. It doesn’t matter whether you have a good job or a loving family. Holding down a job does not always suggest that you’re addicted.
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