More than many other topics, addiction is surrounded by myths and misinformation. Substance abuse is a hugely emotional issue and opinions on the issue vary widely. While this is to be expected, it is dangerous when opinions on such a life-impacting issue are based on information that is less than factual.
Common Myths About Addiction
While it’s impossible to list every myth associated with substance abuse, we’ve listed 10 of the most common misconceptions about addiction and the facts that dispel these myths.
Myth #1: Addicts Can End Use Whenever They Wish
Many people believe that someone suffering from addiction is making the conscious choice to keep using. As someone looking in at an addicted person, it’s easy to wonder why that person won’t just stop.
Myth #2: Addiction Is a Moral Failure
This myth is tricky because there is some level of truth to it. Yes. Using a substance is a choice, especially at the beginning. Unless someone was drugged without their knowledge, they willingly choose to use a substance initially.
Myth #3: All People that Use Drugs Are Addicted
A study funded by NIDA found that within 10 years of first using the drug:
- About 15% of people that use cocaine become addicted.
- About 12% of people that use alcohol become addicted.
- 8% of people that use marijuana become addicted.
In reality, there is much more to addiction than simply using a drug. Addiction is observed through a number of signs like:
Increased conflict and changing relationships.
Decreased attendance and performance at work or school.
Changes in sleep and energy levels.
Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities.