Research shows that the language people use amounts to stigma and discrimination against people who struggle with substance use problems. The stigma associated with public health issues has been reported to cause high incarceration rates, death, and mental health issues.
Despite anti-stigma efforts to educate the public to accept that addiction is a biological illness, just like diabetes and heart disease, statistics still show that the stigma has not stopped. Regarding stereotypes, people picture addiction differently based on whether you are talking about drugs or alcohol.
Addiction stereotypes have various risks. Since, as an addict, you feel like you don’t fit the stereotypes, you may find yourself believing that you don’t have a problem, becoming ashamed of your situation, and perceived stigma in the doctor’s offices can discourage you from seeking treatment.
This guide puts together several ways to answer those troubling addiction questions as you seek a permanent solution.
Common Questions for Addicts
With education, awareness, and resources around us, people still believe addiction is a choice. The truth is addiction is a disease, and a chronic brain disorder, which causes harmful behaviors, self-destruction, and long-term side effects.
Some common questions you are likely to receive include: why can’t you just quit? Why can’t you change? Do you care about alcohol or drugs more than me? These questions can be hard to respond to, but the following tips can help you overcome them.
Addiction is a Disease
People argue that addiction is a disease because it is not contagious, it is not hereditary, and it is self-acquired. But while you may agree that no one forced you into addiction, it’s hard to imagine that someone would willingly ruin their life, relationships, and significant aspects of their lives.
Addiction is a disease because drugs can potentially affect the systems of your brain related to motivation and pleasure, making it hard for other natural treatments to compare. An average person experiences pleasure through having a delicious meal, listening to a favorite song, or spending time with loved ones.
Drugs offer something more and more gratifying than the natural reward. When drugs enter your brain, they mimic natural brain chemicals, trigger the release of brain chemicals in large amounts, or prevent brain chemicals from being reabsorbed or recycled into your brain.
Addiction is a disease just like diabetes or heart disease. Without proper intervention or treatment from reputable addiction treatment centers in Massachusetts, it might just get worse. Addiction can damage relationships and cause financial or even legal problems without therapy.
I Did Not Choose This
You never chose to start using drugs or substances to get addicted. Once you become addicted, it is no longer a choice. While addiction may begin from the point of individual choice, it is a mental disease but not a continued choice.
There is a biological reason why you are more likely to get addicted than others. Your genes account for almost half of your chances of becoming addicted. Other factors include gender, ethnicity, or other mental disorders.
My Physical and Psychological Functions Have Changed
Addiction can lead you to a point where you no longer have control over your choices. People may start feeling that you chose substances or drugs over them, and addiction can also turn you into a physical person.
Some substances can cause slow breathing and drowsiness. Some may cause insomnia, hallucinations, or paranoia. In addition to physical and mental effects, addiction can ruin your relationships and work life.
One of the most profound changes you experience with drug addiction is in your brain’s reward center. Alcohol and prescription drugs get in the pathway of dopamine, which is responsible for feelings of reward, pleasure, and motivation.
Drug abuse rewires your brain, and you are likely to experience a shift in your priorities. Addiction forces you to increase the substance of choice and get more preoccupied with using and procuring more substances.
When you visit a treatment center, a professional will walk with you to help you recover from experiencing an endless cycle of emotional pain, guilt, and short-term relief you get from the substances.
Do You Need Help?
If you or your loved one struggle with addiction, you need help. Currently, there is no cure for addiction, but it is treatable. You can be treated for addiction in various settings, such as inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation centers or medical detox clinics.
You can also work privately with a professional therapist, addiction recovery coach, or addiction psychiatrist. Seeking help is a sure way of getting your everyday life back. If addiction is not treated, it can cause severe effects on your life, including disability, increased health problems, and failure to meet your responsibilities at work, home, or school.