Putting Addiction Myths to Rest

Putting Addiction Myths to Rest

In 2007, Jen lost everything she owned in a massive cockroach infestation. She had just moved into a new apartment in Los Angeles, and not long after moving in, noticed a few roaches here and there but just knocked it up to city living and an old building. However, a month later after a visit from her mom, Jen realized that her bug problem was a lot bigger than she thought and arranged to have her apartment sprayed. She had to remove all living things, empty out the cupboards and put everything she owned in the middle off the living room.

Fast-forward 24 hours later. Jen came back to the apartment expecting to see a lot of dead roaches, but didn’t see that many. However, when she pulled up the tarp that was covering all her belongings she found thousands of roaches. Needless to say her apartment had to be condemned and Jen wasn’t able to remove a single thing, therefore losing everything she owned. The roaches had literally infested her entire life…

Alcohol and drug addiction is like this roach infestation. You may not see its devastating effects at first glance, but when you “pull up the tarp” your entire life is infested with the disease…

One of the myths surrounding addiction is that the individual struggling with addiction is simply choosing to take that next drink, choosing to get that next high—the myth that addiction is not a disease.

Many look at drug and alcohol addiction differently than they view heart disease, or diabetes. However, alcohol and drug addiction is neither a choice nor a sign of weakness, but rather a chronic brain disease.

  • The American Society of Addiction Medicine, ASAM, the nation’s largest professional society of physicians dedicated to treating and preventing alcohol and drug addiction, have defined addiction as a chronic brain disease similar to that of heart disease and diabetes.
  • Under this new definition, people struggling with alcohol and drug addiction don’t have to see themselves as “flawed” or “weak.”
  • Addiction is a complex disease, and like the bugs hiding under the tarp out of view, it can have many underlying factors affecting the individual, such as depression, trauma, etc.

Another common myth regarding alcohol and drug addiction is that the only negative side effect that occurs is to one’s health and nothing more. However, like the roaches in the story above, addiction infests and reaches it claws into each and every aspect of your life including relationships, finances and reputations.

Furthermore, excessive alcohol or drug abuse can increase the risk of more harmful health conditions than most people consider, such as:

  • Unintentional injuries, including traffic injuries, falls, drowning, burns, and unintentional firearm injuries.
  • Violence, including intimate partner violence and child maltreatment.
  • Risky sexual behaviors, including unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, and increased risk of sexual assault. These behaviors can result in unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth among pregnant women, and a combination of physical and mental birth defects among children that last throughout life.
  • Alcohol poisoning, a medical emergency that results from high blood alcohol levels that suppress the central nervous system and can cause loss of consciousness, low blood pressure and body temperature, coma, respiratory depression, or death.

When it comes to alcohol and drug addiction one cannot simply take it at face value; as the old saying goes, “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” Addiction affects each individual differently and can be the result of a variety of things—it’s time to lay those myths to rest. While you may be stuck in a situation like Jen – when it feels like you have lost everything – never lose hope, you can find the strength to begin again. Call us today, toll free at 855-678-8337 for a free evaluation to see if addiction is infesting your life.


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