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Myths Families Face Regarding Substance Use Disorders

Myths-Families-Face-Regarding-Substance-Abuse-DisordersThere is a lot of talk about what addiction is, and what it isn’t—but much of that talk is misleading, if not outright erroneous. Stigma surrounding substance use disorders remains high, and myths and misconceptions are numerous. For those trying to offer love and support to a family member facing addiction one of the key challenges is obtaining some proper information.

Start by dispelling some of the most common myths about substance use disorders. Here are just a few of them:

MYTH: Drug or alcohol addiction is voluntary behavior.

Fact: Though the first encounter with drugs or alcohol may indeed be voluntary, no one ever chooses to have an addiction. It is a real illness that results from changes made to the brain over time. Addiction is by no means voluntary.

MYTH: Addiction is a character flaw.

Fact: Addiction is a clinically diagnosable illness. No one ever says that breast cancer is a character flaw, nor does anyone say it about the flu. Addiction, similarly, should not ever be perceived as a sign of immorality or of personal weakness.

MYTH: Substance use recovery is a one-time thing.

Fact: Recovery is a process that lasts a lifetime, and may include some bumps in the road or even some relapses. This is normal, and it’s why those in recovery are encouraged to adopt a one-day-at-a-time mentality.

MYTH: Substance use recovery just doesn’t work.

Fact: People find success in substance recovery all the time—and your family member or loved one could be one of them!

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