Substance abuse addiction is a commonly misunderstood disease. Some of the misconceptions are minor, while others can be quite harmful. Just like any issue, substance abuse addiction cannot be properly handled until it is properly understood and because it is such a widespread problem, it is imperative that we do what we can to educate ourselves on what substance abuse addiction really is, so that we are better able to help our friends and family who may be struggling. Here are 3 common myths about substance abuse, followed by what really is true.

You Can Detox on Your Own

One of the most dangerous misconceptions is that substance abuse addicts can detox on their own. Although every addict and addiction is different, it is never recommended that anybody try to detox by themselves, as the consequences can be deadly. Recovering addicts who attempt to detox by themselves have been known to suffer from some or all of the following side effects:

    • Headaches
    • Delirium tremens
    • Insomnia
    • Anxiety and depression
    • Heart failure
    • Seizures
  • And more

Relapse Proves That Addiction Treatment Doesn’t Work

This is another false idea that becomes dangerous when it dissuades substance abuse addicts from getting the help they need. Substance abuse addiction treatment has a long history of helping even the most seemingly helpless addicts reclaim their lives and break free from the chains of addiction. Unfortunately, relapsing is common and is not entirely avoidable. However, a relapse should never be seen as “going back to square one,” and instead should be seen as a road bump on the journey to recovery.

Addicts Could Stop If They Wanted

Some people mistakenly believe that addicts could stop abusing substances if they wanted to. It is common for people who are not familiar with substance abuse addictions to think such thoughts as, “If he/she really loved me, they would stop abusing substances.” This mindset, though difficult to change, can be harmful to relationships and can even make the addict’s problem worse.

It is important to realize that an addiction is an enduring condition that triggers the addict to compulsively search out and abuse substances. Many addicts have compared their drug cravings to being an entirely different person. When they need drugs, that is the only thing they can think about, and they do not consider the repercussions for their actions, no matter how severe they may be. Once they come to their senses, they are left to face the repercussions and the guilt and shame they feel often inspires them to abuse substances to escape from them.

It’s Hopeless to Try to Overcome Addiction

This is once again a false notion. Any attempt to overcome a substance abuse addiction will move the addict one step closer to freedom. Attending a substance abuse treatment center is the best option for any addict, as they will be able to receive the support, guidance, and resources they need to overcome their addiction. Anybody can overcome their addiction, so it is crucial that you show empathy toward and never lose hope in yourself or others who may be struggling from a substance abuse addiction.