Today, there are many misconceptions about drug use. The media feeds us so many differing opinions about drugs and how we should view them. It has become hard to determine where the truth lies concerning drug use. Many addicts and family members of addicts have become so mislead by the plethora of information out there today, they now feel hopeless in their battle toward recovery. Here are some myths that I hope to bust for you today:
All drug addicts fit a certain stereotype. Common stereotypes of addicts include those who abuse drugs have a criminal background; they steal from others to provide for their drug addiction; and all they have poor relationships. However, these misconceptions are simply not true. Drug users can be highly functioning members of society. They could be business people, and they can have a clean criminal background. They can be highly functioning individuals, who have normal relationships and look like anyone else who does not have a drug abuse problem. The issue with stereotypes is they are almost never true.Therefore, stereotypes are not fair to those who are struggling with a drug abuse problem. Also, stereotypes are often used to justify the beliefs of the person who places the stereotype on a person. Stereotypes lead to hatred or at the very least negative beliefs about others. Another problem with stereotypes is they can trick addicts into thinking they do not have a drug problem because they do not exhibit any of the behaviors they are “supposed to” according to the stereotypes of other drug addicts. Others do not want to admit they are an addict because they do not want the negative stigma attached to them which have been previously associated with other drug users.
Drug dependence is a more serious problem than alcohol dependence. It has actually been shown, overall, alcohol does more harm to one’s body than do drugs. The numbers show that more people abuse alcohol than drugs, and illegal substance abuse accounts for less deaths per year than deaths related to alcohol use. Many more people abuse alcohol than drugs as well. This statistic means that not only are there more lives directly affected by alcohol use, but there are more lives indirectly affected alcohol use, including family and friends who are affected by others’ drug use. Although both problems are serious issues, it seems that alcohol may be a bigger problem overall.
Drugs will relieve your stress. Not only are drugs not an effective way to relieve stress, the chemicals in drugs can produce more stress in one’s life. It is also important to note that not all stress is bad. Furthermore, a little stress is actually helpful. Small amounts of stress help us perform better under most situations. Everyone deals with stress in different ways and there is no one way to deal with stress. However, dealing with stress by using drugs is a counterproductive way to cope. It is important to develop different, effective ways to cope with stress for one’s long term health needs instead of turning to drugs to deal with stress. The best way to deal with stress is to take care of oneself by eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep. Another way to deal with stress is to stay as calm as one can during stressful situations by avoiding arguments and looking for other ways to keep calm.
You can stop using drugs anytime you want. Quitting drugs is much more difficult than simply making a decision to quit. It involves creating a brand new way of life, separate from how one used to live to prevent relapsing into drug use again. Creating new relationships with friends, who do not use drugs, is also a necessary step as well. Drugs often have an impact on one’s relationships, career and financial status that one must work through after stopping drug use too. One must learn new coping mechanisms to deal with stress instead of using drugs as a means to alleviate stress. There are many factors that play into quitting drugs and after use for an extended period of time it makes quitting more difficult.
Your baby will not be harmed if you use drugs while you are pregnant. There are many risks to babies who are born to women who used drugs while pregnant. Some of the effects include preterm birth, low birth weight, children who experience withdrawal symptoms as well and other lifelong disabilities the baby will have to deal with throughout its life.
There are no truths in the myths listed above. It is easy to believe the things we hear without thinking through the accuracy of them. It is also easier to place a label on people to make them seem different. Now that the myths are busted and you are better able to identify a true addict, help them seek appropriate, professional care for their addiction.