Erasing the Stigma Around Addiction

Addiction recovery tends to be easier when people know they will be supported. The process is made extremely difficult when society as a whole places negative stereotypes on people who suffer from substance abuse.

Chances are you’ve had some experience with labeling. Either you have been labeled as a certain type of person or you’ve labeled someone else. The same type of labeling happens with people who are trying to recover from addiction.

Whatever your circumstances or experience with addiction, it is important that we remove the stigma that surrounds addiction and recovery.

How Common Is the Stigma?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the general public is more likely to have negative attitudes towards those dealing with drug addiction than those who were dealing with mental illness.

This report is alarming because both mental illness and addiction are equally problematic, yet people look down upon addiction more.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse also reported that people don’t generally support insurance, housing, and employment policies that benefit people who are dependent on drugs. The stigma around addiction has labels people as weak and morally inferior, which doesn’t help others understand that addiction is a disease.

Negative Effects of Addiction Stigma

When people see a certain lifestyle as taboo, wrong or dangerous, people tend to stay away from that lifestyle. The same concept applies to addiction recovery.

Although the recovery process is something to be applauded, many needy people do not seek it out simply because it labels them as “addict” in other people’s minds. The stigma also prevents people from seeing or noticing the great things recovery programs are doing for people who are trying to get clean and sober.

While the negative effects of this stigma are many, removing the stigma would make recovery programs more appealing to the ones who need them. This alone would save millions of lives and help many people receive the help they need.