There are a lot of strong opinions about addiction floating around on
social media. As a professional who specializes in the treatment of addiction, it frustrates me because I know many of these opinions are based on false information. However, I also know that there are a lot of folks who have been hurt by someone with an addiction. They’ve been lied to, stolen from, or otherwise betrayed, and it makes sense that they’re angry.
Here’s the thing, though: “Like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, addiction is caused by a combination of behavioral, environmental, and biological factors. Genetic risk factors account for about half of the likelihood that an individual will develop addiction” (www.centeronaddiction.org). So yes, there are some choices that can contribute to the development of an addiction, but the addiction itself is outside of a person’s control… just like there are choices that can contribute to the onset of diabetes. A person doesn’t choose to become addicted to something, just like they don’t choose to get diabetes. In my work as an addiction therapist, I have never met anyone who said that it had been their childhood dream to become an addict.
Addiction recovery represents a significant change in a person’s life. It’s not just about staying away from a particular substance but rather a complete lifestyle overhaul, which is unlikely to be successful if the person doesn’t get some help. Blaming, shaming, or judging someone with an addiction isn’t going to solve the problem or stop the hurtful behavior (aka symptoms of the disease of addiction). If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, reach out to us today.