Addiction Stereotypes

Addiction Stereotypes

Addiction Stereotypes

There are a lot of stereotypes that are associated with addiction, many of them negative. Unfortunately, addiction stereotypes can prevent many addicts from seeking treatment. They don’t want to be lumped in with the “stereotypical drug addict,” so they don’t reach out for help.

Addiction Stereotypes: Addicts are bad people

One of the most common addiction stereotypes is that addicts are bad people. Despite addiction being classified as a disease by the medical community, many people still see it as a matter of will power. To them, addicts are weak-willed degenerates. This can not only prevent addicts from getting help, but it can cause them to have low self-esteem and act as a barrier to opportunities even after they have recovered.

Addiction Stereotypes: Certain types of people are addicted to certain types of drugs

Drug addicts come in all shapes and sizes. While we are getting better as a society as recognizing that addiction can happen to anyone, we still associate certain drugs with certain types of people. When someone says “crack addict,” we may think of inner city African American males. A “binge drinker” may conjure images of a member of a fraternity at a state university. However, drug abuse happens to all different types of people.

Addiction Stereotypes: Alcohol is not as bad as illegal drugs

Many people make the mistake of thinking that alcohol is not as bad other drugs because it is legal and socially acceptable. They may not realize that addiction is a disease, and the type of substance abused makes absolutely no difference. In fact, alcohol is the most commonly abused drug in the United States, and it is a factor in the majority of overdose deaths. Alcohol is also one of, if not the most, dangerous drug to detox from once someone has become physically dependent on it.

Similarly, when an addict is in recovery, relapsing on alcohol is just as bad as relapsing on their drug of choice. Thinking of alcohol as different from other drugs can be very dangerous.

Addiction Stereotypes: Addicts must hit bottom to recover

Many people think that in order to recover, an addict must reach a “bottom.” They must lose everything: their health, their homes, their relationships, even their freedom, before they will seek help. This is just not true. Many alcoholics and addicts don’t have to lose everything before they get help. They may still have jobs, homes, and families and instead reach what is known as an “emotional bottom.” They are compelled to make a change, even though to the outside, their lives have not been ruined by drugs. This is another way that people make addiction stereotypes. Not everyone who gets treatment is a homeless person, living under a bridge and stealing or prostituting themselves to get drugs. Likewise, a person could lose everything and still be unwilling to get help.

Addiction stereotypes are often a hindrance to people who want to get help, but sometimes they can also be useful. For example, if we can identify the groups of people who are most prone to addiction, we may be able to use early intervention techniques, like education, to prevent them from becoming addicts.

If your loved one is in need of alcohol or drug addiction treatment please give us a call at 800-507-7389.

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.