Myths About Drug Addiction

Myths can be very dangerous, regardless of what they are related to.   The problem is that these are ideas that are repeated frequently, but in many cases, they are just not true.  However, people keep repeating them and more people keep believing them.

Here are some of the more popular myths about drug addiction, and the reason that they aren’t true.

Myth – If You Have a Certain Gene, You Are Destined to Become an Addict

The truth is that there is not a specific gene that makes you an addict, however, research does indicate that about 50% of addiction tendencies can be associated with your genes.

Regardless of the high percentage, it doesn’t mean that you are destined to become an addict.   50% of your chance to become an addict is up to you.

The problem with this myth is that when people believe there is a gene that will be passed down by their parents who are addicts, they will believe they are destined to become an addict as well so they won’t fight it.  They may also believe that since they are “destined” to become an addict, it won’t help them to get treatment.  Clearly, this is a dangerous myth.

Myth – Marijuana is a Gateway Drug

A “gateway drug” is one that encourages the user to continue down the road to use drugs that are even more dangerous.  There is very little scientific proof that marijuana acts as a gateway drug.  It is likely used as a scare tactic to scare teens from experimenting with marijuana.

True Gateway drugs are more likely to be things like over the counter medications like Adderall, Vicodin and OxyContin.

Myth:  Addiction is Always a Life-long Issue

The National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse says that 74% of alcoholics recover without receiving any treatment.

Addiction is actually considered to be a spectrum disorder.  This makes it similar to depression and makes it different for each person who has to deal with it.

In some cases, addicts have to fight the urge every day for most of their lives.  However, there are also many cases where an addict struggles for a short time and is then able to put it behind them and lead a normal life without ever facing addiction problems again.

Don’t let this myth stop you from thinking that you can get past your problems.

Myth:  Drugs Will Damage Your Brain

There was a very popular commercial in the late 80’s that showed an egg being fried to tell people what would happen to their brain if they took drugs.  While this was an effective commercial, the message was a huge oversimplification of what happens to your brain when you take drugs.

There are definitely drugs that can produce side effects that are undesirable.  However they don’t produce a damaged person.  The danger with this myth is that companies may avoid hiring people with drug problems in their past because they unfairly consider them to be damaged.

Myth:  Hitting “Rock Bottom” is the Key to Recovery

The problem with this myth is that no one can really know what the “bottom” is.  Some people may not consider it to be rock bottom until they’ve lost their home and live on the streets.  However, for other people, that bottom might be getting arrested, losing a personal relationship or having to rely on others for money.

If you wait until their “bottom” fits YOUR description, it might be too late to get them the help they need.

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