Drug and alcohol abuse is an issue that is more common that one might imagine. In 2017, almost 20 million American adults were battling some kind of substance abuse, according to National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The report also found out that 1 in every 8 Americans suffers from alcohol as well as drug abuse.
Substance abuse not only destroys the life of the addict but has a significant monetary impact on the economy as well. In fact, lost productivity, crimes and health care costs associated with substance abuse lead to damages worth $740 billion each year, according to statistics provided by National Institute of Drug Abuse.
However, despite substance abuse being so prevalent in the United States, there are a lot of myths surrounding the problem. Here are some of such myths and the truth behind them.
Addicts can Stop Whenever they Want
Quitting isn’t as easy as it may sound. Once you are addicted, you become both mentally and physically dependent on the substance. So, your body requires it to function properly. And once you stop using, you are likely to suffer withdrawal symptoms. To overcome addiction, a great option is individual therapy. Individual therapy allows you to explore and solve personal issues and hurdles to de-addiction in an environment of trust, according to Linda Charnes, LMFT.
Overcoming Addiction is a Matter of Willpower
It was first mentioned by Greek philosopher Plutarch almost 2,000 years ago that alcoholism runs in the family. The fact is that addiction is a brain disorder. People who suffer from drug abuse have altered brain function and structure. In the recent years, it has also been found that there are certain genes that put some individuals at higher risk of becoming addicted.
You Cannot Force Someone into Treatment
For the treatment for addiction to be successful, there is no need for it to be voluntary. People who are pressured into treatment by the legal system, their employer, or family are as likely to get better as those who seek treatment themselves. Addicts, in most cases, are not thinking clearly and need external help.
You Have to Hit Rock Bottom Before You Can Get Better
In case of drug addiction, the earlier you can get help, the better. As time goes on, addiction becomes harder and harder to beat. It is a good idea to not wait until the addict has lost everything.
Apart from these, another common myth is that only hard drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, can be addictive. If you find yourself craving a substance and feel unable to function without it, seek help immediately.