Drug addiction has become an issue of worldwide importance for decades. With the war to eradicate this phenomenon still being waged, numerous misconceptions have been bestowed upon countless recovering drug addicts at a typical well-known St. Louis rehabilitation center such as the Midwest Institute for Addiction.
However, most (if not all) of these fallacies have even sadly undermined the abilities of the patients themselves to overcome their predicament. As CNN’s Adi Jaffe notes:
The subject of addiction is plagued by myths and misinformation that were created to scare our children away from drugs. But these haven’t succeeded, and have actually made it harder for addicts to seek treatment and to return to a normal life.
Here are some of the most common misconceptions about drug addicts and drug abuse in general:
Addicts are just plain horrible people– Drug addiction is never a matter of choice. The initial decision to start using drugs is the choice, but getting hooked on them is not. To characterize drug addicts this way is unfair, as it doesn’t reflect the true story behind how people develop their substance abuse issues. Addiction is a treatable sickness. Affected individuals aren’t bad people trying to be good; in fact, they’re sick people trying to get well.
Addicts are from the lowest class of society– This might be due to the stereotypical portrayal of drug addicts in modern media as good-for-nothing individuals who’ve completely separated themselves from a morally acceptable life. Drug addicts come from all walks of life– in fact, about 15 percent of doctors are addicted to drugs, as well as scores of celebrities and public figures.
Quitting is solely based on willpower– Long-term drug abuse is known to physically alter how the brain functions, especially the areas critical to judgment, decision-making, learning, memory, and behavior control. In other words, simply choosing to quit is practically impossible as the drug-altered brain is torn between seeking the pleasure and avoiding it.
Full rehabilitation is possible only if the addict wants it– Waiting for an addict to lose everything he holds dear, hit his life’s lowest point, and anticipating a cry for help is essentially a way to keep him addicted, as his drug use acts as a way to keep his mind off of problems.
Just like depression, drug addiction is a debilitating illness that can be helped. Looking at drug addicts in the same way as described previously is much like deliberately downing them at their lowest point without the intent to help. This is why established outpatient rehab facilities in St. Louis, MO and elsewhere exist; to assist sick individuals in getting themselves back on their feet.
(Source: 5 Damaging Myths about Addiction, CNNS, September 13, 2012)