Uncovering the Truth Behind Popular Substance Abuse Myths

A Metal Fence with Three Placards Containing Supportive Messages Attached on It

People struggling with substance abuse require a strong support system for recovery to take place. They need to surround themselves with empathetic people, but this might be easier said than done because the information vacuum about alcoholism and drug abuse is often filled with misinformation and conjecture.

The following blog will highlight the most common myths about substance abuse.

Myth#1: Addiction and Abuse are Interchangeable

A substance use disorder may lead to addiction, but the two aren’t always so inclusive. When a person uses drugs or alcohol in harmful ways, they’re abusing them. Given proper support and help, they might give up the habit sooner rather than later.

On the other hand, addiction may or may not involve substance abuse. People struggling with this chronic condition have become physically or psychologically dependent on drugs or alcohol.

Myth#2: Substance Abuse is a Choice

Drugs alter brain response. They alter the life-sustaining areas of the brain, leading to compulsive and eventually chronic drug use. Long-term substance abuse is addiction, which wrests control from the human mind and body.

Therefore, the claim about substance abuse being a choice is true only so far as the first hit is concerned. The ones to follow are simply an attempt by that person to satisfy the anxious cravings of their rewired brain.

Plus: if substance abuse were a choice, most people would find it easier to quit.

Closeup of a Person Smoking a JointMyth#3: Substance Abuse is Selfish

People with substance use disorder are not selfish. They understand the pain and strife their habit is causing the people around them. If it were up to them, they would stop right away.

Substance abuse is not a choice for most people. Therefore, the best one can do is hold their hand, lend an ear, and understand that recovery is a process, not a switch that one can just turn on or off.

If you’re acquainted with someone with a drug abuse problem:

  • Talk to them about it.
  • Try to learn more about drug abuse, addiction, and harm reduction.
  • Acknowledge their efforts.
  • Accept the fact that going cold turkey is not a solution.

Myth#4: One Hit is All It Takes

One hit may alter the brain response, but it doesn’t always compel the user to use again. Many people who try drugs once don’t get addicted to them. They may still use them from time to time, but not so much that it constitutes an addiction.

While it’s true that the risk of addiction increases the more you use drugs, but there are way too many exceptions to the rule for it to be a rule in the first place.

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