5 Common Myths and Misconceptions About Alcoholism

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It might not be a frequent subject of in-depth news reports or make front page news, but alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in America. In fact, 17.6 million people — or one in 12 adults — suffer from alcohol dependence or abuse. Seeking help for alcohol addiction can be a long, hard road, especially because there are countless misconceptions that surround this disease. Going through detox and drug treatment is difficult enough without societal stigma and misunderstandings about what alcoholism looks like to those who don’t experience it.
If you’re suffering from alcoholism, it’s important that you seek out alcohol addiction treatment for the sake of your health and for those who care about you. But if you have a friend or family member who is abusing alcohol, you should know the truth about the following five misconceptions.

  1. Alcoholics have to hit “rock bottom” before getting help
    It’s true that there are some alcoholics who lose everything before seeking out treatment, but there are plenty of people who opt to get alcohol addiction treatment before they ever get close to that point. It’s appropriate to seek help at any stage; there’s no point where it becomes “bad enough” to seek out treatment. The problem with this myth is that it can allow those who abuse alcohol to rationalize their drinking habits. The moment you think you need help is exactly the time you should get it.
  2. Alcoholics can’t be functioning members of society
    When some people picture an alcoholic, an image of a homeless bum comes to mind. But in reality, there are plenty of alcoholics who hold down jobs, have families, and contribute to society in general. Just because an alcoholic is able to perform well at work does not mean he or she does not have a significant problem. The shame surrounding the negative stereotypes of alcoholics may delay treatment for those who need it.
  3. Pure willpower should be enough to overcome addiction
    There are some people who can stop drinking full-stop and never have a problem again, but these cases are extremely rare. People who do not experience alcohol addiction may think of it as a switch that others can simply turn on and off, but that’s not the way it works. Addiction can have many causes and risk factors, and without exploring the reasons why someone drinks, he or she is more likely to relapse or pick up another addiction in its place. Even if a person wants to stop drinking, willpower alone is often not adequate in overcoming an addiction.
  4. Alcoholics have to go to AA
    Alcoholics Anonymous can literally save lives, but recovery looks different for everyone. What works for one addict may not apply to another. Each person has a wholly unique journey and needs to find what works best for them in terms of maintaining sobriety and a fully-rounded life outside of addictive substances. Many people find that yoga, meditation, or therapy can be helpful, while others have a strict routine of going to AA meetings. There are numerous options that can help in recovery, and people often find success by utilizing several of them.
  5. Sobriety is boring and may be impossible
    Both addicts and non-addicts may assume that living a sober live will be totally boring. But most find that the opposite is true: life becomes so much more vibrant and enjoyable without the use of alcohol and other addictive substances. Others may feel that they are beyond help, or that a loved one is too far gone. However, alcoholics can seek alcohol addiction treatment at any age or point in their disease. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the recovery process, but every person has the ability to change his or her life. Nothing is impossible.

Once you’re better educated about the reality of these situations, you’ll be in a better position to understand what your loved ones are going through and how important it is for them to seek help. If you or someone you know is in need of alcohol addiction treatment, seek out help from a qualified organization or physician.

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