What are Myths and doubts about addictions and mental disorders?

The data reveals that seven out of ten addicts have another mental disorder, known as dual pathology, and one in four people will develop a mental disorder, half of them due to addictive substances.

Myths and truths about addictions

Personalities from the world of culture and journalism, such as presenter Pablo Motos, comedians José Mota and Álvaro Velasco and model Marisa Jara, among others, have launched an online awareness campaign that shows the main prejudices, asking society 

Following are ten myths about mental disorders

  1. It is healthier to smoke joints than tobacco: Myth

No, smoking joints is not healthier than smoking tobacco; it is a topic not supported by scientific evidence. In the brain, there is an endogenous endocannabinoid system that processes the cannabinoid substances that are consumed. In some people, this system is altered, being more vulnerable to the fact that simple consumption leads to addiction. In addition to addiction, cannabis can trigger psychosis or mania in some subjects. Therefore, neither smoking joints nor smoking tobacco is healthy.

  1. Shyness is overcome with alcohol: Truth

It is a proven scientific fact that alcohol produces tranquillity and euphoria and improves interpersonal relationships since it enhances the brain’s endogenous opioid system. This brain system is not the same in all people, and a lower level of endorphins leads to lower social skills, such as shyness and avoidance of relationships. In these cases, the person finds that alcohol consumption produces improvement, which increases the chances of developing an addiction.

  1. Addiction is a vice: Myth

Addictions are not a vice. For example, a drug-dependent person has a real illness based on the brain but expressed at the behavioural level. Its consumption is not due to vice or pleasure or lack of will. Instead, the addiction ends up occurring in 10 per cent of these people who use legal or illegal substances since they have a brain vulnerability that manifests itself in certain symptoms such as anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, etc. 

  1. Quitting smoking creates anxiety: Truth

Tobacco transports nicotine, which acts in the brain on nicotine receptors, producing different effects. In some people, it improves cognition, hostility, rage, etc. In these cases, a vulnerability leads to the continued use of tobacco, leading to an addiction, so they will need a treatment that allows them to overcome the symptoms suffered before having the addiction, as well as those of the tobacco addiction itself.

  1. The one who wants is addicted: Myth

People vulnerable to developing an addiction usually present Intra and interpersonal difficulties and a susceptible brain conformation. Within this risk group, we must highlight adolescents whose brain and emotional development is not yet mature, so the effects of the substances they consume will have serious implications for their future development. The addict does not choose to be and has no freedom of choice.

  1. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) does not exist: Myth

ADHD does exist. It is a clinical condition that affects a part of the population regardless of age, from children (the age at which it begins to manifest) to adults. It is defined as a neurobiological alteration of the brain that, when not detected, can lead to the development of depression, addictions to substances such as cannabis, cocaine, etc. and also to addictions such as pathological gambling. In the case of minors, it often leads to difficulties such as lack of self-esteem, school failure, impulsive and high-risk behaviours, accidents due to distraction, etc. If addressed correctly, these risks decrease very clearly.

  1. He who has an addiction is dangerous: Myth

Having an addiction is not necessarily dangerous. Antisocial, psychopathic personality traits or some acute symptoms of mental disorders are the conditioning factors that can trigger aggressive behaviour. It is true that sometimes, under the influence of substances, reality is distorted, which can trigger dangerous behaviours. Even so, the danger of addictions is above all in the people who suffer from them and not for others.

  1. If you spend a lot of time on your mobile, you are addicted: Myth

It is not proven that mobile produces an addiction. Indeed, people with certain pathological personality traits that hinder their emotional functioning and social relationships can develop behaviour resembling addiction, dependence and loss of freedom due to the use of this device. Adequate treatment for these patients allows them to live without this dependence on mobile phones.

  1. Gambling addiction is not a mental illness: Myth

Gambling addiction is a mental illness. This has been recognised by the scientific community, defining it as an addiction. This brain alteration that generally occurs with impulsiveness can even be acquired in people who are not players. And depending on its severity, the consequences for patients are devastating and very difficult to address without professional help.

  1. People with mental illness are all addicted to tobacco: Truth

People with mental illness and brain disorders (such as anxiety, depression, anger, and hostility) are likelier to smoke more tobacco and inhale more deeply. The central nervous system has an endogenous nicotinic system that is altered in these people; therefore, the chances of addictive smoking are increased. In these cases, the willpower to quit smoking is not enough; they need professional help for their mental disorder and tobacco addiction.

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