Myths About Addiction, Common Misconceptions
Addicts are “bad”, “stupid”, “crazy”, or other negative labelWhen a person is discovered to have trouble with addiction, many people automatically associate a negative term to describe that person, typically terms such as “bad”, “stupid”, or “crazy”. However, addiction also affects those who are “good”, “intelligent”, and “sane” as well. Addiction is not a character flaw, but a disease of the brain.
Addicts are weak and could stop if they wanted toAddiction is a disease of the brain. According to Dr. David Sack in an article regarding myths about addiction, changes in the brain both cause addiction and are an effect of addiction. These differences in brain structure and function make it easier for the affect individual to become addicted, while also making it more difficult for them to stop once they start using.
Addiction is a choiceThinking that someone chooses to become or remain addicted to harmful substances is one of the most stubborn myths about addiction that remain. It is true that when someone first begins to use harmful substances it is a choice. However, those with a predisposition to addiction in the brain will experience such drastic changes in brain structure and function through continued use that they can no longer function or feel normally without the substance or behavior. Once the brain has changed, there is no longer a choice.
Addict should be punishedAddiction is not a crime, it is a disease. While it is true that some people with addiction problems get in trouble with the law and should be punished for breaking the law, a person should not be punished simply for having the disease of addiction. Treatment is needed and produces a much better outcome.
Addicts cannot help what they doOn the opposite end of the spectrum from “addicts should be punished” are those who believe that addicts cannot control their behaviors so should be given leniency. While behaviors are not easily controlled, addicted individuals must still face responsibility for their actions.
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