Addiction is an often misunderstood disease. Years of studies and research have shown that addiction occurs when the brain becomes dependent on a substance to continue functioning. Individuals struggling with addiction have to keep taking the addictive substance or else they’ll experience unpleasant and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
Despite knowing it’s a disease, most people still look down on those battling addiction. There’s still a stigma attached to addiction largely fueled by the misconception that addicts are good-for-nothing bums who can’t make anything of their lives. A large number of people feel that addiction is a choice and it’s indicative of weak character or a moral failing.
This type of attitude only serves as a barrier to treatment. Those struggling with addiction are often reluctant to speak openly about their situation or to seek treatment because they’re afraid of being stigmatized or discriminated against. They may be battling feelings of guilt and shame about their addiction and knowing that those close to them consider them weak for being addicts can push them over the edge.
Why Are Those Battling Addictions Considered Weak?
To understand how some people consider those living with addiction mentally weak, we have to understand how addiction works. As we’ve mentioned earlier, addiction changes how the brain works. Drinking or using a certain drug triggers the release of dopamine and other feel-good hormones, resulting in a high. The individual then wants to experience these pleasurable feelings again so they drink or use again. Eventually, the body can’t function without a drink or a drug.
At this point, the person becomes preoccupied with feeding their addiction to the exclusion of everything else. They may neglect their job, families, and other relationships and responsibilities to feed their addiction. Some may even hide their addiction from their loved ones or engage in deceitful, irresponsible behavior while under the influence. Those looking on may wonder why this person doesn’t just stop drinking or using but as we’ve explained, it’s not that simple.
Breaking Free of Addiction Requires Strength
In most instances, professional help and addiction treatment are required to help an individual break free of the clutches of addiction. It’s not just a matter of having strong willpower. You need a combination of therapy, commitment, support, and aftercare to rebuild your life.
The recovery journey isn’t for the weak and if you’ve decided to get clean and sober, you need to be celebrated. Admitting you need help doesn’t mean you’re weak, it shows how strong you are, as does sticking with addiction treatment even when progress and recovery seem slow.
If you’d like to get started on your recovery journey, Impact Outpatient Program in Louisville, Kentucky is ready to help. We have a straightforward admissions process as well as intensive outpatient and standard outpatient programs. We also offer virtual, telemedicine sessions to our clients when attending in-person treatment programs isn’t possible. These options make it easy for you to fit addiction treatment into your everyday life.