Addiction is a difficult thing for people to understand if they haven't experienced it. It isn't easy to explain the brain's chemical responses and the overwhelming struggles that people struggling with addiction can face. Unfortunately, the difficulties understanding addiction and treatment have given way to a lot of misconceptions about addicts and the recovery process. Before you dismiss that family member who is struggling with an addiction, you should know the truth behind these common misconceptions.
An Addict Has to Hit Bottom
The earlier an addict receives help, the more successful their recovery is likely to be. Many addicts are able to turn their lives around well before they lose everything, and that is often the result of the support and intervention of their loved ones. Don't wait for your family member or loved one to "hit bottom" before you intervene and help. This is dangerous, particularly because everyone's definition of "bottom" is different, and if you wait too long, you risk not only long-term damage from the drugs, but also potential death. If a loved one is in need of help, now is the best time to offer it.
If An Addict Relapses, They're a Lost Cause
The recovery process is long and challenging for people who have struggled with any kind of addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that up to 60 percent of addicts who are recovering have relapsed. That doesn't mean that recovery is impossible. The most difficult time is the early stages of recovery for many, because it is a drastic change, especially if the person has been using for a long time. If you're committed to helping a loved one recover, don't let a relapse discourage you.
Addicts Have No Life Goals or Ambition
Addiction can affect people of all kinds, from those who have little drive to succeed to corporate CEOs and attorneys. People from every walk of life can be affected by addiction, just as they can be affected by a mental illness or other condition. While struggling with an addiction can make it difficult to achieve any further goals, it doesn't mean that the individual doesn't have any. Sometimes the support of a loved one to help an addict get clean is all it takes to help set that person back on a productive, successful path again.
Addicts Don't Contribute Anything to Society
People who are overwhelmed by their addiction may be unable to contribute much to society, but you'd be surprised how many people struggle with addiction while they continue to navigate their careers and their normal lives. Doctors, attorneys and other professionals can all be affected by addiction in one form or another just as anyone else can. Having an addiction doesn't automatically mean that someone cannot contribute to society. In addition, recovered addicts often make the best intervention counselors after treatment, because they can relate to those who are struggling with their addictions in a way that others simply cannot.
Addicts Are Just Weak
If you've never struggled with addiction, it's easy to tell yourself that someone who does is just a weak individual and will never have the strength or the willpower to get better. The truth is it takes a lot more than just inner strength to recover from a drug addiction. Most addictions require professional therapy and sometimes the use of medications. It's important that you get help for a loved one who is struggling, because these interventions may be what it takes to get them clean. Once on the road to recovery, though, most recovered addicts have more strength and willpower than they're given credit for. That strength shows in every day that they are able to maintain that path.
If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, knowing the truth behind these misconceptions may help you understand their situation a little bit better. This can often make it easier for you to seek intervention and support for that person. Talk with a local chemical dependency counselor or visit a site like http://www.olalla.org today for more tips to help.