When it comes to dealing with drug or alcohol abuse, information is key. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation concerning what addiction is and how it should be handled. Learn the truths concerning some common myths about drug and alcohol abuse.

Myth: Marijuana is not addictive.

The American Psychiatric Association defines addiction as a complex condition—a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence. “People with addiction (severe substance use disorder) have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s), such as alcohol or drugs, to the point that it takes over their life. They keep using alcohol or a drug even when they know it will cause problems.”

Although marijuana is not immediately addictive (as some drugs are), continued use can lead to marijuana use disorder, which in severe cases becomes addiction. Once addicted, a person feels withdrawal symptoms when he or she stops actively using.

Other symptoms of dependence may include irritability and other mood changes, sleeplessness, cravings or decreased appetite, restlessness, and cravings. If a person cannot stop using even though the use of the drug—including marijuana—interferes with his or her regular life, the person is considered addicted.

Myth: Pills are safe if prescribed by a doctor.

If a doctor prescribes medication to you, and if you follow your doctor’s instructions precisely, your pills should be safe. Many people abuse prescription drugs, however, taking them in higher dosages or greater frequency, or taking meds prescribed to another person. This puts the person at the risk for not only addiction, but other health concerns as well.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “an estimated 2.4 million people 12 or older met criteria for abuse of or dependence on prescription drugs, the second most common illicit drug use after marijuana.”

Myth: Beer is better for you than hard liquor.

Beer, wine, and liquor all contain ethanol alcohol. According to the Center for Disease Control, a 12-ounce beer contains the same amount of alcohol as a standard shot of liquor or a five-ounce glass of wine. Just like any other alcoholic substance, beer can be addictive and can trigger alcoholism when used in excess.

Myth: A person needs to hit rock bottom before seeking help.

Not true! A person can seek help at any point while using drugs or alcohol–even before an addiction has developed. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health cites that of the almost 23 million people who needed substance abuse treatment in 2013, only 2.5 million actually sought and received treatment.

Unfortunately, the “rock bottom” myth is counterproductive as it gives the substance abuser and his or her loved ones an excuse not to seek help as soon as possible. But getting to a treatment center and receiving rehabilitation services is always best done sooner rather than later.

Want to know the facts about your substance abuse problem? Our trained admissions counselors can direct you to help. Call 866-349-1770 for suggestions on starting that very important conversation.


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