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5 Common Myths of Addiction


More than any other topic, addiction has many myths and misconceptions surrounding it. It is important to debunk these myths that are centered on such life-impacting issues. While it is impossible to address every myth, we have compiled a list of myths that commonly surround addiction.

1. Ending addiction is simply a matter of willpower

Many people believe those who are addicted are making the conscious decision to use. When it comes to a loved one, they believe “they are choosing the drug over me.” This misguided view ignores the very definition of “addiction.” Defined by the The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is “an enduring condition that triggers the user to compulsively search out and use substances.” Also, prolonged use leads to dependency where the brain and body require the substance to feel and function normally.

2. You can’t force someone into treatment, they have to want help

Treatment doesn’t have to be voluntary to necessarily be successful. People who are pressured into treatment by their family, employment, or legal system are just as likely to benefit than those who voluntarily join. Thinking begins to clear as they become sober, changing many of those who were formerly resistant.

3. They have to hit rock bottom before they can get better

Recovery can happen at any stage of addiction and usually, earlier the better. The longer the use the harder the treatment becomes. This means you should not wait until your loved one has lost it all to intervene.

4. Addiction is a moral failure

Someone’s potential for addiction is attributed to several factors

  • Genetics
  • Environmental factors
  • Developmental factors, such as family upbringing and past trauma
  • Psychological and personality factors, such as distress tolerance, impulsivity, emotion regulation, and executive functioning.

Addiction is a disease that can be treated through therapy, exercise, medication, and other treatments.

5. Treatment didn’t work before so it won’t work again

Drug recovery can be a long process with many setbacks. Recovery also involves relapses, and in many cases, more than one. A relapse doesn’t mean the treatment has failed. It is rather a reminder that you need to get back on track and focus on the treatment.