Certain myths like we have to drink at least eight glasses of water in a day or humans are using only 10% of their brains for their work are common but primarily harmful.
When it comes to myths that can affect people's lives and perspectives, it's necessary to change our assumptions and expand our understanding.
That's precisely the case with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). There are a lot of myths that we firmly believe regarding this chronic disease.
Unfortunately, these myths can play a critical role in understanding addiction treatment and recovery. Often, it becomes a challenge for us to recognize and treat the condition with less blame and more sympathy.
If one of your loved ones is battling this disease, breaking down the myths about alcohol addiction is an essential first step to help support them during recovery.
Here are some myths about Alcohol addiction:
- The Stigma Around Alcohol Use Disorder:
Stigma tends to be associated with various health conditions. Moreover, stigma often prevents people from seeking help, getting treatment, or making progress with recovery. AUD is also severely stigmatized among these health conditions, mainly because of the disease's myths.
When you think about alcohol addiction, violent outbursts, domestic abuse, and homelessness may be the first things that come to mind. The truth is, these stereotypes are not the norm for everyone who struggles with Alcohol Use Disorder.
- Alcohol Use Disorder Is Not A Moral Failing:
One of the most common myths about alcohol addiction is moral failing. So, people often blame and responsibility for the individual's character or lack of willpower. It is a common misconception that people “choose” to stay addicted to a harmful substance.
Alcohol addiction is a complex disease brought on by genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. People with mental health problems may be more likely to develop AUD. Having a history of trauma also puts people at a much higher risk of AUD. Some might even have a genetic predisposition to alcohol addiction.
- Alcohol Use Disorder Treated Like Other Chronic Diseases:
With the misconception that AUDl patients are responsible for their illness, people often fail to see the condition for what it is – a chronic disease. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism categorizes it as a “brain disorder.” In other words, it's an illness that affects the mind and body.
Compared to other mental illnesses like schizophrenia and depression, alcohol addiction isn't commonly regarded as a disease. According to the previously cited study from the Medical Council of Alcohol, only 49% of participants in the U.S. believe it is a mental illness. The American Medical Association defines Alcohol Use Disorder as a disease.
- The Rise Of Mental Health Awareness:
The excellent news for Alcohol Use Disorder patients and loved ones alike is that there's been increasing awareness about mental health issues over the past few years.
Social media has given people a platform to share their experiences, and influential personalities openly talking about the topic have helped reduce stigma and create robust support systems.
Increasing mental health awareness is likely to positively impact the myths surrounding alcohol addiction.
As many people realize that there are real humans with real struggles behind the disease, the negative preconceptions are likely to change over time.
Until Next Time