The illness that is addiction is one of the most misunderstood in the world. In fact, many people do not even see it as an illness despite it being recognised as such by health experts. There are many who believe that those who develop addiction have done so through choice. They fail to realise that those who abuse substances such as alcohol or drugs have little choice over their use; these individuals have no control over their urges and cannot stop even if they want to.
With so much negative press around addiction, it is hardly surprising that most people have their own opinion of what it is and of who is affected by it. Negative stereotypes lead most individuals to assume that all alcoholics and drug addicts look and act in a certain way. However, the truth is that addiction can affect anyone, no matter where they come from or how old they are.
There are many reasons it is dangerous to stereotype addicts, including the fact that doing so can lead those affected by addiction to use it to justify their own behaviour. Those who do not fit the profile of the typical addict will often convince themselves they do not actually have a problem and will, therefore, continue with their addictive behaviour regardless of the consequences.
Stereotyping can also cause resentment and negative feelings, which can result in mistrust and confusion and ultimately destroy lives.
It is easy to make assumptions about those affected by drug and alcohol addiction, but in truth, most people who have these illnesses do not actually fit the profile. If you have no experience of addiction, you may be forgiven for thinking that all alcoholics:
You might also be forgiven for believing that all drug addicts:
These characteristics of the ‘typical’ addict can lead most people to be unable to recognise when someone is actually affected. In many instances, those struggling with alcohol or drugs will look just like everyone else. It is often the case that from the outside, these individuals appear to have everything; they will have nice homes, plenty of money and families that love them. It is only those closest to them who will be able to see that they are in need of help.
The truth is that many of those affected by drug and alcohol addiction can function quite normally, and nobody but their closest family and friends will be aware they have a problem. Just because somebody does not drink as soon as they wake up or even drink every day, does not mean that this person cannot be addicted. Addiction is not about the type of substance being abused or even the frequency with which the person abuses it; it is more about the person’s lack of control when he or she does use it and whether their use is having a negative impact on their own life and the lives of those around them.
If you believe that you or someone you love may be in danger of developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Here at Recovery.org.uk, we work hard to put those who need addiction services in touch with the facilities that provide them.
We have contacts in all parts of the UK, and we will make sure that you are matched to the most suitable treatment provider based on the severity of your illness and your circumstances. For more information on our service and how we can help you, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us now. We are waiting to take your call.