When it comes to misconceptions about addiction, they appear to be more widely taken as facts than the actual facts, but this isn’t just limited to the people who have little experience with and knowledge of addiction. Even the people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs have a number of misconceptions and misgivings concerning the disease from which they suffer.
In many cases, the misconceptions are qualifiers that they use to assert their control over their alcohol or drug use, insisting they’re not addicted because of this reason or that reason. Many of these misgivings can be extremely harmful since many of them involve the minimization of one’s substance abuse and its implications, which would seem to make it less likely for an addict to seek treatment.
As such, it’s important for people to be aware of some of the most common myths that people believe about addiction. Here are four common myths about drug abuse and alcoholism.
Myth No. 1: Alcohol Isn’t As Dangerous As Drugs
Since drugs are (mostly) illegal and alcohol is legal, many substance abusers think that alcohol doesn’t pose and danger or threat. Their rationale is that if alcohol was dangerous, it wouldn’t be legally produced, sold, purchased, and consumed. Unfortunately, this has caused a number of people to be much more reckless with alcohol than they probably would have been otherwise, making them vulnerable to developing a drinking problem like alcohol dependence or even alcoholism.
The fact is alcohol is just as dangerous as most of the drugs that a person might find on the street. In some cases, it might even be more dangerous than illicit drugs, and this is because of how the body reacts to alcohol when it’s continuously introduced into the system. In the beginning, a person experiences the full extent of alcohol’s effects, which entail a flood of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, causing a sense of pleasure and euphoria.
However, alcohol intoxication has a great effect on things like equilibrium and balance, fine motor skills and coordination, speech, cognition, and more. In short, it puts the body into a state of very poor functioning. As a person continues drinking large volumes of alcohol over time, the body begins to adapt to and need the alcohol for even certain natural functions.
After being in the throes of alcoholism for an extended period of time, the body’s having become so dependent on alcohol makes it very difficult to detox. In fact, alcohol detox is considered one of the most dangerous detoxes there is, which is why alcoholics are discouraged from detoxing without 24-hour medical supervision and care.
Myth No. 2: I Don’t Drink Alcohol Daily, So I Can’t Be An Alcoholic
This is probably the most common argument or excuse that alcoholics give while trying to prove that they’re not alcoholics. Specifically, this myth/argument is based on the assumption that being an alcoholic means a person drinks to excess every single day, but that’s actually not true. A person who drinks every day can consume less alcohol than a person who drinks only three days a week, so frequency isn’t really the strongest indicator of alcoholism.
Moreover, even when an alcoholic is only drinking a few days a week, there’s a strong chance that he or she will begin drinking every day sooner or later. In other words, saying that you can’t be an alcoholic without drinking every day isn’t an effective argument because even drinking half the days of the week can make a person an alcoholic; drinking every single day is simply a later stage of alcoholism.
Myth No. 3: I Can Stop Drinking/Using If I Want To
In much the same way as saying one must drink every day to be an alcoholic, there are many people who insist that they could stop drinking if they wanted to and they’ve not yet stopped drinking because they’ve simply not wanted to stop yet. Unfortunately, this is often an argument of which they’re trying to convinces themselves rather than to convince others.
At this point, they’ve likely experience a point in time when the consequences of their drinking made them want to give up alcohol, but when they tried they realized that they experienced withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, they maintain that the reason they have continued to drink is because they’ve simply not yet decided that they want to stop, but insist that they could stop if or when they wanted to.
Myth No. 4: I’m Employed/Functioning, So I Can’t Be an Alcoholic/Addict
With this argument, a person is saying very much the same thing as in the second myth, which was the argument that a person must drink every day to be an alcoholic. In this case, a person would be arguing that being able to maintain a job, income, home, car, family, and so on, means that he or she is clearly not an alcoholic or drug addict.
In effect, they’re trying to say that their ability to continue functioning while drinking or using drugs frequently is proof that they don’t have an actual alcohol or drug problem. Obviously, this isn’t true since most alcoholics and addicts develop their substance abuse problems while they’re still working; it’s only as the alcohol and drug problems become more severe that they begin losing things like jobs, homes, cars, financial stability, and relationships.
Begin Your Recovery Journey
Addiction is a destructive and potentially deadly disease. It strips people of their health, loved ones, jobs, and opportunities, making them shadows of their former selves. But nobody must continue suffering in the throes of active addiction. Common myths about alcoholism and drug abuse often keep people from getting the help they need. If you or someone you love would like a free consultation and assessment, call Drug Treatment Center Finder at 1-855-619-8070. Let us help you begin the journey toward lasting health and happiness.