Helping your loved one combat the addiction stigma

Everyone who is addicted is aware of the stigma attached to it, and this is why they would prefer to keep to themselves. Addicts usually love to be on their own, lost in their own world because they believe no one can understand them.  

If you want to help your loved one to defeat addiction, they must be first helped to deal with the stigma. Stigma are set of beliefs that are not based on facts. People who are stigmatized often fall for these beliefs and not often do they get someone to properly explain to them.

When addiction stigma is in play, the individual would not want to accept his or her addiction. And this is a determining factor for addiction treatment.

The addicted individual needs to acknowledge his or her addiction in order to foster addiction treatment. The only way to defeat stigma is by educating people.

People need to be properly informed on the concept of addiction. When they are informed, it would help in preventing hasty generalizations and myths. Having good knowledge about addiction is key and when it is absent, it could be disastrous.

It is important to also educate your loved one on the full concept of addiction. Doing this will require you to do some research but it is usually worth it.

You will be helping them ahead of their addiction treatment session where they would be duly informed about what is plaguing their lives.

Someone who is addicted can still have their lives on track, and addicts need to hear this often. Once addicts are encouraged that they can have a clean bill of health, it helps them to keep focus. And it serves as a motivation for them to follow through with the addiction treatment process to the very end.

Helping your loved one combat addiction stigma could be one of the best gifts to give them, because they need it to recover fully.

The Addiction stigma

Anyone who is addicted to either substances or behaviors is usually stigmatized, and the society takes the full blame for this.

Stigma is a negative belief system that the society or a group of people hold about a particular entity. It is believed that when the society frowns at something, anyone associated with it would be downtrodden.

The issue of stigmatization is fully present in the addiction process. The society failed to realize that an individual’s addiction is not necessarily their fault. If we were to name one of the factors that makes us human, it is our vulnerability to addiction. And proper study has shown it is no fault of ours.

However, the society greatly frowns at addiction. And rather than provide help, they exhibit prejudice, assumptions and the likes towards people who are addicted. In the process, some of these individuals have driven themselves to the edge.

The fact is stigma is not based on facts. Rather it is hinged on myths, hasty or well-thought out generalizations, assumptions and the likes. And the only way to prevent this from happening is to properly educate people.

When people are aware of the concept of addiction, they would not be quick to jump into conclusions.

Also, they would be able to help out those who are addicted and make sure they get back on track with their lives. The adverse impact of stigmatization is best reduced or prevented when education is in play.

One of the strongest reasons why people do not open up about their addiction problem is the stigma attached to it. They have the conviction that once they tell people about their problem, it would be heard on the lips of other people.

Getting people to accept their addiction is often the hardest phase. But, once they can acknowledge their addiction problem, it becomes easy to provide help for them. People who are addicted need to be treated with care, love and not prejudice.  

Alternatives to Stigmas

stigma alternativeOn the opposite end of the spectrum from stigma is the glamorization of addictions and disorders. This is a rarely talked about phenomenon because it seems so contradictory. Most people would reason that there is surely nothing about mental disorders or addictions that is glamorous, but some portrayals of these conditions would suggest otherwise. Hollywood and other sources of popular media have found ways of portraying disorders and addiction in a good connotation, such as normalizing them or even romanticizing them; a trend that should be reversed if these issues are going to be represented accurately.

There are many instances in the media and in popular culture when mental disorders and addictions are portrayed as the new standard of normal. We have all been through rough parts of town and observed groups of people who are clearly living lives governed by their addiction and disorders. What we don’t realize is that these people make up large communities that foster the belief that their way of life is normal and common. Their sense of healthy living has been fictionalized. Much of this mindset can be attributed to portrayals of addiction and disorder in the media. Many characters and archetypes of addiction and disorder in popular media treat these conditions very casually and over represent their commonality and acceptability.

Many media portrayals and celebrity lifestyles even romanticize addictions and disorders. Often, characters in films or personas in music make copious amounts of substance abuse and pleasure activities seem cool, mysterious and rewarding. Protagonists in films are frequently characters who struggle with some type of mental disorder and the choices they make under the influences of their disorder may be glorified or justified. In the sixties, there were many young actors and musicians who checked themselves into mental health treatment facilities because it was the “in thing” to be unstable, pensive and brooding.

All of these portrayals are unfortunate and unhealthy. We need to embrace disorders and addictions for what they are: something that makes a person’s life harder, and something that person should work to recover from, with support. The best thing we can do as a society for addictions and disorders is truly understand how they work through education and literacy.

Addiction, Mental Health and Stigmas

Those who struggle with addiction and mental health problems exist among everyone else in large numbers. They hold jobs, raise families, manage responsibilities and form relationships like everyone else. It is estimated that nearly one third of North American society has struggled with addiction or mental health issues at some point in their lives. However, North American society has the tendency to place stigmas on these individuals, whether consciously or unconsciously, that have the effect of making them feel likemental health second-class citizens. In the media and in pop culture, people with addictions and mental health issues are portrayed as weak, dysfunctional, threatening, incapable, lazy and odd. It is very important that these stigmas are put to rest, as they are marginalizing and damaging to people who have to live with these disorders.

In our society, passing judgment on people who are addicted or struggle with mental health problems is justified. People who are ignorant of these disorders hold the people afflicted with them entirely responsible for their condition. They are not educated about the psychological, environmental, behavioral and biological reasons behind mental disorders, so they simply assume that people afflicted with these disorders are lesser than they are. The enforcement of this stigma actually serves to worsen these disorders. The best thing for people struggling with a disorder, who are already in a confused and fragile emotional state, is encouragement. When they are met with discouragement, it is a setback and an obstacle for them.

Ostracizing people with addiction and mental health disorders is also largely justified. They often are turned into a joke in social media  or pop culture, and are relentlessly made fun of. Or, they are treated like they carry a contagious disease and are avoided completely. This treatment is also quite malicious and hurtful. Living with addiction or a mental disorders is very challenging, and it takes incredible effort on the part of the person afflicted to change. Society needs to find a way to replace criticism with compassion and judgment with tolerance. Anyone making an effort to improve their lives deserves respect and encouragement.

If you are a Canadian struggling with addiction or mental health problems, do not buy into the stigmas surrounding your condition. Instead, reach out to a Canadian counseling center or Canada drug rehab to learn what treatment resources are available to you.