- Drug addiction is a choice. While at first drug abuse may be a choice, it quickly develops into an addiction that alters the way in which the chemistry of the brain and body function. This change in functionality leaves individuals with intense cravings for their drug of choice and the urge to seek more extreme highs as their tolerance builds. Addiction is a side effect of substance abuse and is an illness that requires treatment.
- Marijuana is not bad for you. Although marijuana has recently been legalized in multiple states, the drug still possesses the ability to cause cancer and other health complications. Marijuana is known to be the cause of poor memory, the inability to concentrate, and lack of coordination. It is relatively easy to develop a dependence on the drug, especially among adolescents and young adults whose brains are still undergoing major developmental changes.
- Legal drugs are safer than illegal drugs. When taken exactly as prescribed by the to whom they are prescribed, prescription medication can be safe and beneficial. When taken in any other way, or taken for a period longer than prescribed, prescription medication can produce many of the same dangerous side effects associated with illicit substances. Since these drugs are prescribed by doctors, many falsely believe that there are little to no consequences associated with misuse; however, prescription drug addiction is just as dangerous and deadly as addiction to illegal drugs.
- “Natural” drugs are safer than synthetic drugs. Many believe drugs like marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms, and other “natural” drugs are not dangerous because they are not chemically altered and grow from the ground. These drugs still alter brain chemistry and can produce dangerous side effects. These drugs have the ability to cause hallucinations and psychosis, especially if they are mixed with other substances. Cyanide, arsenic, and anthrax are all found in nature, but are harmful and potentially deadly to humans.
- Drug addicts fit a stereotype. The face of addiction is changing. While many might characterize an addict as a dirty, young “lowlife” with no motivation, the reality is that many substance abusers have “well-maintained” addictions. They may have healthy relationships with others, no criminal record, and can be highly respected individuals who range from young adults to the elderly. The misconception about what an addict looks like makes it easier for people to hide their addiction from loved ones, who can think that because they do not fit the stereotype, they do not have a problem.
- Drug addiction is more serious than alcohol addiction. This misconception stems from the fact that alcohol can be legally obtained. Many assume that it is safer than illegal drugs; however, alcohol can be just as damaging as many illicit drugs. Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in the United States and can negatively impact an individual’s health, relationships, career, and academic performance.
- Combining drugs is not dangerous. In some cases, individuals may choose to mix multiple substances to enhance their effects, but this can produce life-threatening consequences. Overdose and death occurs more frequently in instances of mixing substances. This includes mixing drugs with alcohol or multiple drugs together.
- Addiction treatment isn’t necessary; people can quit whenever they want to. Long-term drug abuse changes the way in which an individual’s brain works, causing them to crave the drug more and more as more time passes. This is especially true in adolescents whose brains are still undergoing major developmental changes. Adolescents are much more likely to become addicted than adults and suffer more severe consequences as a result of abuse. It is incredibly difficult for individuals to successfully withdraw from illicit substances and maintain long-term sobriety without assistance.
- You can successfully complete rehab in a short period of time if you really put your mind to it. Research shows that individuals who are enrolled in treatment for a minimum of 90 days are far less likely to relapse than those who are in short-term treatment programs. Those who remain in treatment for at least one year are twice as likely to maintain sobriety than others. Recovering from addiction is more than just the process of abstaining from substance abuse; it is a lifestyle change that requires constant work. Completing a treatment program is one major step in the journey towards lifelong sobriety.
- If you relapse, you are hopeless. Addiction is difficult to overcome and sometimes, stressors and triggers may lead to relapse. Individuals recovering from addiction are most vulnerable during the months immediately following treatment, when they often return to the environments and/or individuals that previously enabled substance abuse. Recovery is a lifelong process that sometimes requires multiple treatment attempts before successfully achieving sustainable sobriety.