Addiction is a national epidemic, with over 24 million people addicted to substances in the U.S alone. One of the cruelest facts about addiction is that is is still often treated like a personal failing and not a disease.
Fortunately, there is a lot that can be done to reverse the misinformation and stigma surrounding addiction.
Most people are harsh and judgemental about addiction because they are not aware of the reality of being addicted. But by arming yourself with knowledge, you can convince those around you have a more honest and productive conversation about addiction.
So read this guide thoroughly to learn the truth about addiction.
1. Most Addicts Are Productive
One of the more interesting facts about addiction is that 14.1 million drug addicts had jobs in 2008-2012, though the number of addicts has increased since then. There is a common stereotype that addicts are the shiftless parasites of society.
But this doesn't make sense for a few reasons. One is that drug addicts need money to keep their habit. And while it's true that some do turn to violent crime, most addicts have regular jobs.
Unfortunately, the nature of addiction can cause them to become less effective at work. This provides society at large with a practical interest in cutting treating addiction.
This means that the causes of addiction must be addressed and corrected. The best way to do this is to stop thinking of addicts as less than other people.
Many addicts start abusing substances because of untreated mental illness and self-medicate. If more people had healthcare and access to mental health, drug abuse would go down.
Treating people with respect, compassion, and directing them to the help they need is the way forward to eliminating the problem of addiction.
2. One Of the Hard Facts About Addiction is That Jail Doesn't Help
Jailing people for their addictions is counterproductive. When an addict is sent to jail, they're often forcibly detoxed.
While this may sound like a solution to the problem, it isn't. Detoxifying the body of substances only gets rid of the chemical compounds that cause addiction.
The psychological need for the substance is still there, and the drug user is likely to pursue more drugs when they get out. Although in many cases, they don't even have to wait that long, because drugs are rife in the prison population.
What's more, being sent to prison negatively impacts a person's ability to get a job. By limiting their options for work once they leave, drug-addicted former prisoners are likely to take up crime to support themselves and their habit.
This is why it's so important to stop looking at addiction as something that people should be punished for. Just decriminalizing cannabis leads to fewer drug arrests.
This makes it more likely that people struggling with drug abuse will not have to worry about getting arrested when seeking treatment. They also won't have to be punished for any mistakes they've made in the past for the rest of their lives.
3. There are Some Sex Differences in Drug Abuse
Although women are less likely to become addicted to drugs, the number of women abusing drugs is still on the rise.
Men also tend to use higher doses of drugs and women tend to escalate their use of drugs faster than men.
Regardless of gender, the rate of prescription drug abuse is rising all across the country. One of the more interesting addiction facts is that people who are prescribed pain medication are at higher risk of developing an opioid addiction.
It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, anyone can develop a substance abuse problem.
4. There is Medicine That Can Help Fight Addiction
Substance abuse is best combated with the help of s good support structure and the help of a trained professional.
In addition to using methadone to help opioid addicts, there are other medicines that treat addiction.
For example, naltrexone is used to block the receptors in the brain that makes drinking alcohol feel good. Disulfiram takes this a step further by causing anyone who is taking it to feel sick when they drink.
Of course, these are only available by prescription, and they aren't effective unless the alcoholic agrees to take them.
5. Being Supportive is Critical
There are a lot of treatment options available for people who need to recover from their addiction.
However, it's important that nobody goes through addiction alone. One of the most well-known recovery facts is that addicts need a personal support system to fully recover from their addiction.
Being emotionally supportive and available to a recovering addict can be difficult. You will have to endure their mood swings and irritability. And, taking care of someone going through withdrawal is tough.
But it's important to remember that it's worth it to help someone heal and make a new normal for themselves.
Addiction Is Beatable
One of the most overlooked facts about addiction is that recovery is possible. Many people write off those struggling with substance abuse as hopeless junkies.
But people do beat their addictions and return to a normal life. People are much more than their circumstances and their diseases, and they need to be treated that way.
By ignoring the facts on drug addiction, addiction will not be solved, and people will continue to fall by the wayside.
To find out more about how addiction can be overcome, and find a rehab center near you, check out our resources.