Although it is true that drug and alcohol use is a choice, becoming addicted and continuing to use is not. Prolonged use of any substance takes its toll on the brain and body chemistry, leading to a physical and mental need to continue using. People who abuse drugs and alcohol are not “bad,” they’re simply stuck in an unhealthy, addictive pattern.
People who use often become more moody and depressed and have trouble with basic memory functions, motor skills, and even talking. It’s important to remember that addiction and drug use are what cause such changes in a person — it is not the individual him- or herself who has changed.
By understanding the truths and untruths about addiction, support systems can become stronger and, in turn, aid an addicted person in getting the help they need. If you or someone you know is addicted, seek help and remember to educate yourself on the facts about treatment and substance abuse.
If you or a loved one is seeking treatment, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA's) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357) or go to www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov.