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Mental Health Issues: Top 5 Myths About Addiction

The stigma of addiction has produced a plethora of myths as it relates to many mental health issues like drug and alcohol abuse. These myths not only prevent addicts and alcoholics from seeking treatment, but could be killing them and hurting their loved ones in the long run. It’s time we take a look at some of the top 5 myths as it relates to mental health issues like alcoholism and drug addiction and set the facts straight.

Mental Health Issues

Addiction Is A Choice, Not A Disease
Addiction is a disease and according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), it is a chronic progressive disease that if not treated, can be deadly. Addiction is not a moral dilemma and if it was a power of choice, millions would recover every time after one treatment stay. Many times relapse occurs because the addict or alcoholic cannot accept that they have a disease and have lost the power of choice as it relates to drinking or using.

If You Don’t Use/Drink Every day You Can’t Be An Addict Or Alcoholic
It’s not so much about how much you drink or use, as it has to do with what happens to you both mentally and physically when you do. Although after some time of drinking/using, many addicts and alcoholics find it difficult to control their consumption, drinking daily is not a requirement to be considered an alcoholic.

You Can Only Become An Addict Or Alcoholic If You Are Genetically Predisposed
Although many addicts and alcoholics do have some form of mental health issues and addiction in their family, it is not a prerequisite to becoming an addict or alcoholic. Some have become addicted who have no known cases of alcoholism or drug addiction in their family, while others have dozens of addictions in their family tree yet have no desire to drink or use themselves.

Addicts & Alcoholics Are Bad People
Many addicts and alcoholics may “do” bad things when they are in active addiction, but that does not mean they themselves are bad people. If a person is suffering from the disease of addiction, moral character and judgments will be compromised while intoxicated or high, and there seems to be little control over their actions while in active addiction. The cravings and obsession are so strong, the addict or alcoholic may not even be able to differentiate the true from the false as it pertains to their actions. In the same instance, not all bad people are addicts and alcoholics, and not all addicts and alcoholics are bad people. When judging someone’s moral character, it’s better to base it on each individual and not the disease of addiction itself.

Overcoming Addiction Is About Willpower
Since alcoholism and drug addiction are a disease, willpower has little to nothing to do with getting clean and sober. Once again if it were a matter of willpower we would never see a relapse either. Once the drug and/or alcohol is removed from the system (usually in a medical detox) the “cravings” for that substance have been removed as well. The other side of the disease of addiction is the mental obsession. That may go away after time, but if the person is not working a program of recovery and working through their mental health issues, there is little success in staying clean and sober long-term.

Recovering From Mental Health Issues

So how does one recover from drug addiction and alcoholism? Well, that is what addiction treatment is all about. In a drug rehab center an addict or alcoholic can safely learn about their disease, work through issues that could be blocking them from staying sober, and learn new tools to cope with life on life’s terms without getting drunk or high, even after they have graduated from treatment. Recovery is a reality for those struggling with substance abuse problems and there is a solution, but you might find it hard to get started if you stay stuck believing some of these myths. If you think you might be suffering from a substance abuse problem, give us a call today at 1-800-439-5959. You do not have to figure this out on your own, and we can help.

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