One common idea behind addiction is that the addict can’t stop because they love the drug too much, but this is actually a mistaken belief in most cases. The substance abuse may begin because the individual likes the effects of the drug, but by the time it reaches the stage of addiction, the issue has become far more than just a love of drugs.
The Psychological Effects
Due to the psychological changes that substance abuse produces, the addict’s brain will have been chemically altered to have a dependency on the drug. They will no longer use drugs just because they love them, but because of the side effects and withdrawals that arise if they don’t.
This is evidenced by the guilt and shame that many addicts have pertaining to their drug addiction, even if they don’t display it openly to others. As National Institutes of Health reports, shame and guilt are both negative mindsets that addicts will experience, yet that are each different in their own ways.
The Feelings of Shame and Guilt
The shame that an addict might feel would be more directed to themselves and the low self-esteem in how they perceive themselves. Due to their dependency on the drug, they may view themselves as weak or insufficient to overcome the struggle.
In slight contrast, the guilt that an addict might feel would be more directed to the people he or she has hurt and the things lost in the process, such as a job or friendships. They may also experience guilt for any illegal actions taken to procure the drug during their continued use of it.
Both of these struggles, shame and guilt, may be internalized and unaddressed by the addict, but they are a major underlying factor to any addiction.
Overcoming these Feelings
According to NCBI, part of the recovery process is overcoming this shame that the addict feels. It is often a necessary part of the recovery process, as the shame that the individual feels allows them to recognize that there is an issue that should be addressed and taken care of. Without this shame and guilt, they may have never realized the problem at hand.
Although it can be difficult to deal with once they recognize how far they have come, it can also work to motivate the addict to get their situation under control in order to better their life. By the time their addiction has reached this point, it is no longer anywhere close to resembling a love of drugs, but is rather a psychological dependency on the chemicals affecting the brain.
The myth that addicts love drugs has been proven to be untrue in many studies and personal testimonies as well.