Humans are a strange species. Instead of showing empathy and support to the sufferers, we judge. Wrongfully, it is considered shameful for a person to get treatment for problems like substance abuse, addiction, mental illnesses, and many more. Due to our shallowness, we are endangering the lives of people who avoid getting treatments because of the fear of people’s judgment. It’s no secret that the world would be a much better place if we considered asking for help and rehabilitation as a positive step.
Before trying to improve the situation, we, ourselves, need to understand the “whats” and “whys” of the stigma around addiction treatment. This article will talk about the stigma around addiction treatment and how it can be harmful to those looking for recovery.
- What Is The Stigma Around Addiction Treatment?
Generally, the word stigma means the negative thoughts and views that a group of people holds about any topic. Addiction treatment is one topic that society discriminates, looks down upon, and excludes the individual pursuing it. Shaming those afflicted with addiction is nothing but merely an abuse of human rights as it contributes to increased mental health problems and suicides among the population. Therefore, it is best to take the help of addiction treatment centers like Serenity at Summit because they help you fight the stigma too.
- Why Is There A Stigma Around Addiction Treatment?
Let’s talk about the history and the reason behind the addiction treatment stigma. During the early 20th century, doctors treated conditions such as head and body aches, teething, etc., with opium, morphine, and cocaine. However, under 1914 Harrison act which applied tax on the imports of these drugs, spread light on the legality of these drugs as they were thought to satisfy opioid addiction.
Years passed, and in 1919 the Supreme Court decided to deem the use and trade of these drugs illegal. From here onwards, people started considering drug addiction less as a medical condition and more as illicit behavior. The involvement of media in this stigma has only further fueled the fire.
- What are the Problems Caused by Addiction Stigma?
In America, millions of people from age 12 and older suffer from opioid addiction, but only a handful of them are fortunate enough to have access to treatment. Most of them feel ashamed seeking treatment which adds to the economic, ethical, moral, and medical costs. Surprisingly, even the closest loved ones part their ways when a person is suffering through addiction. According to a recent study, only one in five Americans continue a relationship with their loved one going through this problem, which makes sufferers more reluctant to seek help from friends and family to get rid of their addiction. They even find it shameful to go to rehabilitation centers for treatment.
This stigmatization of our society is leading to many problems, such as:
- Eating and sleep disorders
- Relationships destruction and much more
- Abandonment and Isolation
- Loss of job
- Deaths due to overdose
Moreover, health care providers avoid treating drug dependents due to carrying the stigma. Even if they treat them, their behavior negatively affects the situation, decreasing the chances of sufferers asking for their help.
- Words Make and Words Break
The one thing that people with addiction want from their loved ones is emotional and moral support. If you know how your words can make and break something, you would never use them negatively. Using derogatory comments, moral degradation, hitting rock bottom, etc., will only add to their problems and make the life of the suffering person miserable. Your support and love is the one thing that they need during this time. It’s not just the loved ones, but news reporters and storytellers also need to learn a great deal about the choice of words while covering stories of addiction. Journalists can find assistance from the Overdose Crisis Style Guide to learn about responsible and ethical reporting sensitive issues. Finally, health care providers and medical staff play a very significant role in making the situation worst. As professional as they are, most of them lack empathy and use words that negatively impact the mind of the drug dependents.
Both authorities and society have to play their roles as responsible citizens. We need to tell the dependents that there is hope and they can live their life happily. Scientists are finding outstanding solutions to drug problems, and now sufferers can come out of drug dependencies entirely. However, prevailing stigma is still a significant hindrance in the excellent execution of the treatment. The government can increase the number of rehabilitation centers and provide free treatment for unprivileged citizens. They can also run campaigns to encourage individuals to seek treatment. At last, we have to work on a personal level by changing our mindset and overall behavior to demolish the stigma around addiction treatment.
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