But, if you take a little bit of time to learn more about addiction and the reasons behind it, you can become more understanding and compassionate towards people suffering from it.
To help you learn more about addiction, check out these common myths about why people take drugs that definitely aren't true.
1. All Addicts First Started Taking Drugs to Get High
Despite what a lot of people think, not everyone who's addicted to drugs started taking them because they wanted to get high. In fact, doctors are prescribing very addictive medication every day. These are called opioids, and they're fueling a drug crisis in America.
In 2017, it was found that there were over 190 million opioid prescriptions. To put that in perspective, if everyone received a prescription, including children, over half of our population would be taking opioids.
These opioids are so addictive that up to 12% of people taking them start abusing them. By the way, 80% of heroin users started with an opioid prescription. It's a reason for using drugs that people often don't know about, but it's a huge problem in the US.
The problem here isn't with the addict, but with the medical industry. Make sure you know the signs of prescription drug abuse to keep your loved ones safe.
2. They Don't Want to Stop
The idea that addicts don't want to stop using or aren't trying hard enough is one of the most harmful myths out there. cOf course, there are some people who don't want to stop, but it definitely isn't always true.
The fact is that coming off of drugs is incredibly hard, even when you want to. This is because addiction changes the way a brain works. Over time, the brain and body become reliant on the drug to function close to normal. When you stop using it, everything in your body is shouting at you to start again.
Some withdrawal symptoms addiction sufferers have when coming off of drugs include:
- Intense nausea and vomiting
- Depression, anxiety, and other changes in mood
- Muscle aches and pains
- Intense craving for the drug
- Fast Heart rate
- Pupil dilation
3. They Have a Bad Past
When people think of drug addicts, they often think of people with bad, troubled pasts. They imagine someone having grown up in poverty, from a broken home, and surrounded by other troubled people.
The truth is that addicts come from all walks of life and there's never a straight answer for why people use drugs. When people come in for addiction treatments, their pasts are all completely different from one another. They can be rich or poor, young or old; it doesn't matter.
Drug addiction doesn't discriminate - that's the truth.
4. They Chose to Become Addicted
Although they may have chosen to take the drug in the first place - although that isn't always the case - no one really plans on becoming addicted. Why would they choose that?
The reality is that these drugs have a huge recreational appeal. From helping with social anxiety to relieving stress, there are tons of reasons why people might start using. But they're so highly addictive that before they know it, they're reliant on it.
People usually think they're in control, but the reality is that drugs take that control from them. The fact that even prescribed opioid users can become addicts is proof it's not as simple as a typical choice.
Make sure to keep an eye for signs of drug use in men and women to make sure those around you aren't suffering.
5. They Have Character Flaws
A lot of people think addiction is a character flaw, and that people with addictions are abnormal or outcasts. The truth is so far from that. Everyone has some character flaws whether or not they have an addiction.
The National Institute of Alcohol and Alcoholism found that almost 20% of alcoholics lead functioning, normal lives. Drug users can have families, go out with friends, and have jobs. It's often when their addiction takes over that their lives begin to all apart, and the idea of character flaws is presented.
In reality, anyone can become an addict and it's not a character flaw, it's a disease.
6. Why People Take Drugs? They're Bored
A lot of people imagine that addiction begins when people are bored. They don't work and they have nothing better to do. Whilst boredom can be a cause, it's one of so many.
Here are just a few of the reasons why people do drugs:
- Succumbing to peer pressure
- To escape an unpleasant reality
- To relieve stress, anxiety, or other mental health problems
When addicts receive treatment, they often receive therapy too. There's a cause behind drug use that often runs deeper than we can see.
Understanding why people take drugs is crucial to understanding anyone who might be suffering from an addiction. If you know someone with a substance abuse problem, make sure they get the help they need.
Get in touch with our team to find out more about our addiction services.