Ending the Stigma of Addiction Together

Many people believe that addiction is related to moral problems, and that people with substance abuse disorders choose to abuse drugs or alcohol. Unlike other people with chronic illnesses, addicts are blamed for their condition. This kind of stigma creates fear, guilt, and shame that prevents thousands of people from seeking help and getting the proper addiction treatment.

Stigma is the most formidable form of an obstacle when it comes to effective addiction treatment. Addicts have a much better chance of recovery when they feel supported and understood.

Establishing What Stigma Is

Stigma can be defined as a set of negative beliefs in a society about a topic or a particular group of people, and it is mostly fueled by misinformation. It is also a significant cause of discrimination, as it contributes to the abuse of human rights. Stigma not only affects the individual dealing with addiction but also:

  • Their friends
  • Their families
  • Their employers and colleagues 
  • The members of the justice system
  • Health care providers

People with substance abuse disorders are generally discriminated against and excluded because of their health status. Friends and family or the general public that have a negative feeling about drug abuse, may use derogatory terms to refer to them. These labels and negativity can quickly perpetuate stigma. Studies have found that the general public is more likely to have a negative feeling or attitude towards people dealing with substance abuse than those with mental illness.

What Is the Stigma Surrounding Addiction?

The stigma surrounding addiction is fueled by the lack of information about the subject. While scientists have found and helped us understand that addiction is chronic, society is yet to catch up, as most people still believe that addiction is a personal choice. No one chooses to get addicted. Addiction can be caused by many factors, like environmental influences and general vulnerability.

People who don’t understand the medical part of addiction may view it as a willpower problem and may assume that the addict brought it upon themselves. However, like any other health problem, addiction requires proper medical treatment, and adicts require the same support, respect, and treatment as a chronic health patient.  

How Can We Prevent This?

No one likes to be devalued or negatively judged, no matter the situation. To help addicts start their treatment and recovery journey from drug abuse, it’s up to us to get rid of the stigma surrounding addiction. Since the stigma of addiction is closely linked to lack of understanding and proper education, there is no simple way of stopping it, but there are steps that we can take to hasten and make progress in the area. 

When we start speaking up against the stigmatization of addiction, we shed some light on the society about their perception. Some of the most effective ways of reducing stigma include: 

  • Displaying kindness to people dealing with addiction  
  • Offering compassion or being compassionate
  • Listening without subconsciously judging a person
  • Avoiding hurtful labels and speaking out about them
  • Viewing people for who they are and not the kind of substance they use
  • Doing adequate research about drug or substance dependency 
  • Speaking up when you see people being mistreated because of drug use
  • Treating people who are struggling with addiction with respect and dignity
  • Replacing negative comments and posts with evidence and facts
  • Sharing stories of addiction

Reducing stigmatization is a collective effort from the people dealing with addiction and nonaddicts. Everyone has a role to play in bringing positivity in the world of addiction recovery.

We Can Help

Addiction today is a growing problem. With proper treatment plans and support, anyone struggling with addiction can make a full recovery. Don’t let stigma prevent you or people you care about from getting help. 

At Lake Arrowhead Recovery Resource, we are here for you because we care about you and the people you love. Reach out to us if you or someone close to you is looking for a suitable addiction recovery center, and we will help connect you with our holistic centers who will offer you the best addiction treatment plan based on your needs. Our support teams will also be with you throughout your recovery journey. Make your call and start your journey to sobriety today!

How To Reach Out For Help With Addiction

Are you suffering from addiction? If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you realize your drug or alcohol use has become a problem. You may know that you can’t break your substance abuse behavior by yourself, but reaching out for help seems to be too difficult. Maybe you’ve always been the strong one that others looked to for help and you feel you can’t show anything you perceive as weakness. Maybe you feel you’ll be judged negatively by others or that you’ll be considered a burden. We completely understand your concern and want to let you know you aren’t alone. We also want to let you know the worst of your fears are not going to happen. You’re only human and have nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone needs to be helped at some point in their lives. It just happens to be your time now. 

Don’t Be Embarrassed

Addiction is a disease and seeking treatment shouldn’t be any more embarrassing than seeking help from a heart doctor or eye specialist. Even though you feel vulnerable, it’s likely that your friends and family have been concerned about your drug abuse for a long time. They will be over the moon that you want help and will be happy to help you in any way possible. There’s absolutely no reason to be afraid of people finding out something they may already know. They’re still in your life so it’s probably obvious that they care about you. The emotion you’ll receive from those you reach out to will most likely be compassion, love, and relief that you are finally seeking help.

You Aren’t a Burden

If you’re used to people depending on you, which is often the case of many addicts, you may feel that expressing the need for help will make you a burden to others. They won’t feel that way. In many cases, your loved ones will welcome the chance to take care of you as you’ve taken care of them. The fact that they are still standing by you through this addiction says they love you and believe there is hope that you will get help. Your substance abuse has most likely put more of a burden on those you love than asking for help ever will. By asking for help to get clean of your drug abuse, you’re actually taking away the burdens of pain, fear, and concern they’ve been feeling throughout your substance abuse.

Reach Out to Family

Those who care the most about you are often family members; they’re stuck with us for better or for worse. Family could be a parent, aunt, or grandfather. It can also be a cousin or someone you feel comfortable around. Family doesn’t always have to be blood. Maybe you feel comfortable with your sister’s husband. The idea isn’t to take time over-thinking who to ask but go with what feels right. The you inside knows who will grab hold of that hand reaching out for help.

Reach Out to a Friend

If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to a family member, another option is to find a friend or colleague you can count on. It can be someone you’ve been friends with for a while or a new friend. Chances are the person you reach out to has either helped someone in the past or has battled their own addiction issues. Never underestimate the power of empathy. There are people out there who want to help you.

Reach Out to Us

Lake Arrowhead Recovery Resource is here every hour of every day to help you. We can help you find a place that fits your needs and will work with you in regards to admission and even insurance procedures. Our support is available throughout your healing process and we want to answer your questions. Reaching out to us is free so you don’t have to worry about the money just yet. Don’t spend another day feeling that your need is bothersome. In reality, your reaching out for help is a great gift to those who love you.