Breaking Stereotypes About Addiction

Breaking Stereotypes About Addiction

A stereotype refers to a commonly held belief that’s longstanding, general, and largely based on assumption. Stereotypes come in all shapes and sizes but they have one thing in common: they’re not helpful and they hold us back. Stereotypes pigeonhole people and things. When we stereotype, we’re not seeing people as complicated and dynamic individuals. Rather, we’re projecting a generalized image onto them. When we’re talking about stereotypes around addiction, it does addiction and people with substance abuse issues a great disservice. It places addiction in a box and also prevents further inquiry, conversation, and education about the incredibly important topics of addiction and recovery. Here, we’ll examine some of the common stereotypes around addiction. 

“Addiction is a choice.” This is a commonly held belief about the disease of addiction. Those who haven’t had direct experience with addiction often assume that those with substance abuse issues are choosing to remain in active addiction. The medical community recognizes addiction as a medical condition, making this a falsely held and hurtful belief.

“All addicts come from terrible backgrounds.” The truth is, addiction knows no class, gender, race, or creed. Addiction is a disease that oftentimes has genetic components and therefore addicted people come from all backgrounds. 

“Addicts are bad people.” This is another damaging stereotype. While in active addiction, many of us do regrettable things. However, people with addiction issues are not all “bad people.” Addiction is a misunderstood disease and many aren’t educated on the signs, symptoms, and treatment options.

“Some drugs are less harmful than others.” Some drugs have a worse reputation in society than other drugs. For instance, the stigma around alcohol and other legal substances is not as negative as the stigma around heroin or cocaine. This is dangerous thinking, as it’s possible to suffer from addictions to any and all substances. No drug is “better” than any other drug when it comes to addiction.


Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premiere men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138

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