One thing about the Information Age is that not all of the ‘information’ is accurate. In fact, most of it is probably blatantly false. Or at least unsourced. Because of how links are shared and assessed, it’s difficult to know what to believe without a good sense of how to follow sources back to ensure you’re getting the truth about some topics.
And addiction is one of the topics where it’s particularly important to know that what you’re reading is real and backed by science. Because following the wrong advice, or taking the wrong path when it comes to addictive behaviors, can be life-changing, and potentially in the wrong direction.
Brain or Behavior Perspective
One of the first things that you need to research when it comes to accurate information about addiction is going to be with respect to the brain or behavior perspectives. In a nutshell, the question is – is addiction caused by a brain disorder, or does it come into play because of personality and behavior of the person in question? And there are arguments for both sides. So you need to sift through the data of the particular situation you’re trying to deal with, and find evidence that suits your needs from those two viewpoints.
Read the Journals and Books
Instead of just reading what’s on the internet, it’s important to read books about addiction that are in full published form, either at the library or at a bookstore. Chances are, these sets of text will be better written, better sourced, and more complete explanation of all of the aspects and complexities of individual situations.
Careful With the Trolls
If you’re looking for information about addiction, you do have to be very careful posting in public forums where the trolls can come out. If you go to Reddit or a similar site, your questions can get torn apart and people will go on the attack just because they can, as well as supply you will false information, so exercise caution.
Follow Up With Doctors and Clinics
If you do get some information about addiction that looks right and seems sourced correctly from the internet, it doesn’t hurt to take that info to an actual doctor or a clinic to see what they say. Especially if it deals with advice about treatment, you want to get a professional seal of approval.
Pay Attention to Sourcing
And the core skill set that you need to get information about important topics (and especially ones that deal with safety, like addiction) is to understand how to source facts. Click on source links, look to see who publishes studies, make sure dates are correct, and look for anything that says there’s potentially some sort of scam involved in the information release. Snopes is a good place to have in your back pocket.