Addiction stigmas are still rampant in our society today and cause many complications with recovery for addicts. By working with rehab professionals, you can learn how to fight these misconceptions about addiction stigmas and help make the world a better place by educating others about the illness of addiction. Read on to learn more about addiction stigmas and how you can better manage situations that involve addiction stigmas.
Addiction Stigmas are Hard to Shake
Although addiction stigmas have changed over the years, the terminology that people use to describe those who struggle with addiction is still harmful. Just think of words that you may have used in the past or heard used to describe you or a loved one. These can include harmful terms such as junkie, stoner, addict, pill-popper, etc. These derogatory terms all indicate that the general public still perceives addiction negatively and does not understand addiction as the disease that it is.
For example, the concept of the “loser alcoholic,” like Andy Capp, is still widespread. And it is not uncommon to hear typically empathetic and sympathetic people saying that those with an addiction are “wasted lives” or saying that they do not feel bad for them because they choose to abuse substances. Such perceptions are wildly off the mark and showcase an abysmal understanding of substance abuse disorders.
Is somebody suffering from cancer a “loser”? Should a person with AIDS “get over” their disease? Of course not, and the same fact is true for those with an addiction. Remember: substance abuse disorders are diseases, and those with them must be treated appropriately and with respect. As a result, it is essential to fight these addiction stigmas whenever possible in your life. It is important to correct this terminology when we hear it and educate people to understand addiction as a disease.
Combating These Stigmas
If you have faced many addiction stigmas in your life or during recovery, you undoubtedly felt very upset and discouraged after hearing how people talk about addiction. These stigmas have a way of affecting those with an addiction and causing them to feel like they “deserve” their fate. This idea is wrong and must be combated in any way possible. Just a few methods that you can use to manage this situation include:
- Being honest – Talk about the science of addiction and how it impacts your body and those of others
- Staying patient – Do not get angry at those who persist in stigmas but remain patient and reasonable
- Pointing out success – Detail how rehab works and the ways that it helps a person recover from addiction
- Making comparisons – Compare addiction to other diseases to help individuals better understand them
- Holding community meetings – Discuss these points in a large gathering to spread the word further
- Reaching out to rehab – Talk to drug rehab centers to learn more about how they combat these misconceptions
The toughest part about fighting these stigmas is knowing that you will not change the mind of every person. Many people will refuse to listen to you and believe what they want about substance abuse. However, if you can change even 3 out of 10 minds, you are spreading the word. And if those three people can each change the perception of three others, you can slowly but consistently help the world.
Combating Stigmas Every Day
Fighting addiction stigmas requires a systematic approach that may need the help of professionals like us at Crestview Recovery. When you call 866.262.0531, you get access to dual-diagnosis, trauma therapy, intensive outpatient care, and an extended-care program. And our Pacific Northwest location is beautiful and allows for many amenities, such as snowboarding. Verify your insurance to get started today.