Substance Abuse Facts And Myths

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Thank you for visiting Substance Abuse Facts. If you have a substance abuse problem the situation is not hopeless despite what many people believe. In order to overcome your problem however it is important to will differentiate the myths from the facts when it comes to substance abuse and addiction.

Myth 1 Substance abuse and addiction are the same

Fact: Substance abuse is not the same thing as addiction. The fact is that although many people even some professionals use addiction’ and abuse’ interchangeably they are not the same. The differences are:


  • Substance abuse occurs when you use drugs in spite of knowing that they can be harmful to your health your work your relationships and other important aspects of your life. Addiction on the other hand occurs when you have developed a psychological or physiological dependence on the substance.



  • With substance abuse you are likely to experience the pleasurable effects of the substance just as you did when you first started using it. On the other hand if you are addicted you will typically need increasing amounts of the substance in order to achieve the desired effect in other words to get high. This is because you have developed a tolerance for the substance.


Myth 2 An addiction is merely a bad habit over-indulgence or a moral weakness

Fact: An addiction is not just a bad habit nor is it merely a problem of overindulgence or an indicator of flawed morals. An addiction can be as serious as a medical condition such as diabetes or atherosclerosis. The factors contributing to substance abuse and addiction include social circumstances personality traits exposure and availability of the substance and genetic susceptibility.

People who struggle with substance abuse and addiction are often not lacking in morals. One can become addicted to alcohol or other substances because many are highly addictive. Use can cause structural and biochemical changes in the brain. It is really more an issue of science rather than morality as to why so many people find themselves abusing or addicted to one or several substances. Unfortunately this means that abusing a substance only a few times due to curiosity or recreation can lead to compulsive use and cravings.

Myth 3 Overcoming an addiction just takes willpower

The fact is that sheer willpower alone is not enough to disentangle yourself from a serious substance abuse problem and especially from an addiction. No matter how strong your inner resolve you will probably need professional help to recover successfully and avoid relapse. Structured treatment is usually the best approach.

Myth 4 Substance abuse and addiction affect only the low-income population

Fact: Individuals from every socio-economic group have problems with substance abuse and addiction. It is a prevalent problem which crosses all social classes. Although some age groups races genders and social-economic groups are at a higher risk ultimately every person is at risk under the right circumstances.

Myth 5 In order for treatment to be effective you must want it

Fact: Many people who successfully complete treatment did not want treatment. Two of the main reasons people seek substance abuse treatment is because it is court mandated or their loved ones are pressuring them to get help. The most successful substance abuse treatment often occurs as a result of pressure from loved ones regardless of why the pressure was applied. Don’t wait until your loved one voluntarily seeks substance abuse treatment it may never happen.

Myth 6 Many people relapse because treatment doesn’t really work

Fact: Just as with treatment for other conditions treatment for substance abuse and addiction can’t guarantee results for any particular person. However this is no reason to dismiss treatment. The reasons for relapse vary from one individual to the next but the major reason is a lack of commitment. Other reasons include peer pressure and the fact that the root cause of the problem may not have been dealt with while in treatment.

Myth 7 Treatment is the same regardless of the substance used

Fact: While there is much overlap when it comes to alcohol and drug treatment aspects of treatment may vary for different substances. For example serious addiction to alcohol or certain prescription drugs often requires medical detox as the first step in treatment. This is not required for many substances.

Myth 8 People who get treatment and then relapse are a lost cause

Fact: People who relapse after treatment are not hopeless at all. The fact is that occasional relapses happen to many individuals following substance abuse treatment. Once out of treatment it is important that the individual receive emotional support especially during the months immediately following treatment. Also they are much more likely to succeed if they don’t return to the very environment or situation which contributed to their substance use.

Myth 9 Addicts are lazy don’t want to work or can’t cope with stress

The fact is that work is actually an incentive for substance abuser and addicts to get clean and sober. Being able to hold down a job improves their self-esteem and gives many people a purpose in life.

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