For seven seasons Don Draper was the essence of the smooth businessman who had it all. As an advertising executive in the 1960s, Don was the envy of all and had everything he ever wanted—the striking good looks, the adoring family, the powerful career, the women on the side, the money, and the booze. The show also portrayed how Don had something he did not want: an addiction. Of the many praises the show earned, one is that it depicted addiction with brutal honesty. Mad Men chronicled Don’s childhood trauma, the addiction’s alluring false promises, Don’s ability to hide and minimize the addiction, and the reality that addiction demands everything. Don eventually crashed hard. His charm and charisma were no match for an addiction. As addiction does, it demanded everything from Don—his family, his career, his health.
For all that the show gets right, there is one important change between how addiction was handled in the 1960s and how it is handled today: many more treatment options are available. Today, therapists understand far more about what addiction is and how it works. Today, many people are reaching out for help and receiving the treatment they need before they hit rock bottom.
Thriveworks Oakland Counseling has addiction therapists who understand addiction and understand what it takes to heal from this disease. We have helped many people find the healing they need to fight addiction and the support they need to retake control of their lives.
The Many Myths of Addiction
In the United States, about 21 million people battle addiction each year. Despite being widespread, it is often misunderstood. Many myths have persisted about what addiction is and how to treat it. These myths often heap blame and shame upon addicts and may prevent them from seeking treatment when they need it. In most cases, early intervention and treatment sets addicts up for a better recovery. Myths that hold people back from seeking therapy need to be named and replaced with correct information. Here are three of the many myths about addiction:
1) Myth: Addiction Is Uncommon
“No one is immune from addiction;
it afflicts people of all ages, races, classes, and professions.”
Yes, tens of millions of people have an addiction, and those are just the people in the United States. Addiction affects men and women. Addiction can strike young and old. Addiction is present in every race, religion, and socio-economic status. When people are isolated, addiction grows. It is important to let people who may be fighting addiction know that they are not alone. Therapists’ offices are filled with people who are also fighting. Support groups are packed with others who understand and are ready to offer empathy and accountability. Many people can testify that some of their closest friendships have come from others who have been in their shoes—battling addiction—and winning.
2) Myth: People Choose to Be Addicted
“A lot of people think that addiction is a choice. A lot of people think it’s a matter of will. That has not been my experience. I don’t find it to have anything to do with strength.” —Matthew Perry
Addiction is an illness. It alters people’s brains so that the normal balance that most people experience is off-kilter. Just as people do not choose other diseases, no one chooses to be addicted. In fact, many of addiction’s risk factors are completely out of an individual’s control, factors such as genetic predisposition, childhood trauma, and allergies. When addiction develops, people have choices and options of how to respond and whether to seek treatment, but no one should be blamed for having an addiction, as if they chose to have a destructive illness.
3) Myth: People Become Addicted Because They Are Weak
“Addiction isn’t about substance—you aren’t addicted to the substance,
you are addicted to the alteration of mood that the substance brings.”
This myth is particularly dangerous because it is a personal attack. The truth is that addiction is the problem—not the addict. No one should be attacked because they have a disease. Therapists, support groups, and addicts must work together, not against each other to fight this disease. Personal attacks are unhelpful and untrue. Addiction is an equal opportunity disease that can develop in anyone, at any time. It has nothing to do with being strong or weak (whatever that may mean).
Treating Addiction at Thriveworks Oakland—Addiction Therapy and Counseling Appointments
Take a moment to reflect upon your life right now. If you are struggling with a compulsive behavior (like gambling, shopping, pornography)… If you are abusing a substance (like prescription drugs, food, marijuana)… it may be time to reach out for help. Addiction has treatments, and often, the sooner those interventions begin, the better. Thriveworks Oakland Counseling is here to help. Our counselors and therapists have addiction appointments available.
When you call to make an appointment, a real person will answer the phone—not a voicemail, not an automated response system. New clients frequently are able to meet with their therapist within 24 hours of that call. We work with many insurance companies and thus are able to accept a variety of insurance plans. We also offer weekend and evening appointments. Fighting addiction is difficult. Making an appointment for treatment should not be.
Everyone needs an ally when they are fighting addiction. Let’s work together. Call Thriveworks Oakland Counseling today.