The stereotypes of addiction go back hundreds of years. You’ve probably heard them all before, but unfortunately, they’re all wrong. Here’s why paying attention to these dangerous stereotypes will do more harm than good.
Help Doesn’t Work Unless You Hit Rock Bottom.
Imagine yourself rolling uncontrollably down a steep hillside. Once you stop rolling, you have to climb back up. Would you prefer to start by hitting the ground hard at the very bottom, or after you’re only halfway down? Addiction works the same way. Facing sobriety is less overwhelming when there are fewer pieces to pick up. You’ll also protect your psychological and physical health from further damage.
If I’m Not Homeless, Then I’m Okay.
Addiction is sneaky, and it lives in many well-kept homes. Just because you’re still married, go to work, and have money in the bank doesn’t mean you don’t have a problem. In fact, one of the first signs that addiction is a problem is denial — if you are using more drugs to get the same high and you’re spending your spare time figuring out when you can use next, you have a problem.
It’s Fine. I Got Them From My Doctor (or My Friend or Family Member).
Prescription drugs are the cause of the biggest addiction epidemic ever in the United States. More people die from accidental prescription drug overdose every year than heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine combined. These victims aren’t getting drugs on the street, either — they’re getting them from friends and family members. From ADHD meds to sleep aids to painkillers, prescription drugs are deadly, especially when mixed with alcohol.
Marijuana Isn’t Addictive.
Marijuana advocates are quick to point out that users have taken the drug for thousands of years with no ill effects. The most recent studies indicate this isn’t so. Marijuana users are more likely to report cardiac events in the hours following smoking. There’s also a link between marijuana and schizophrenia, especially in young users. And although marijuana is not generally associated with physical withdrawal symptoms, neither is cocaine — and emotionally, learning to live soberly is a challenge no matter what drug you take.
I Can Quit, By Myself, Anytime I Want To.
Denial is the common thread that links every addiction. This happens because all drugs negatively affect the ability to make reasonable decisions, perceive risk and reward, learn from mistakes and remember consequences. That’s why an addict might believe he or she can quit at any time, even when it’s clear to everyone else that getting help is the best thing to do.
Perhaps the most dangerous stereotype of drug addicts is that quitting without help is wise. Most people who get and stick with treatment stay sober for the long term, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The bottom line is that quitting early and getting help is the most proven way to beat this deadly disease. Contact 12 Keys Rehab to learn more about your treatment options.