The Addiction Stigma is Killing Addicts
So why is there a stigma attached to addiction? The Addiction Stigma is causing a lot of harm. Addiction has been declared a disease by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). Yet there is still so much negativity directed toward those suffering.
Addiction is such a devastating disease, possibly one of the worst on the planet. Not only does addiction slowly kill the addict but it affects loved ones as well. On top of this the addict has to deal with being ridiculed by society.
Addicts are often looked upon with embarrassment and shame. There is a lack of understanding by most who have not been directly affected by addiction. Once an addict develops a physical and mental dependence toward a drug, they lose the power of choice. They no longer have the ability to make that conscious decision of “I will not drink or get high today”. In fact, the suffering addict has about as much control over their disease as someone with terminal cancer that is left untreated.
Society likes to argue this part of addiction with the question of “how can someone not have control over using a drug?” However, it is much more complex than “just don’t get high.” Without effective treatment for the addict, it is nearly impossible for them to stop on their own.
In truth, societal stigma associated with addiction has made it worse. The stigma harms addicts because when they hear what society says they begin to ask themselves: “Why can’t I control my behavior.” According to popular belief, addicts “should” be able to control themselves but cannot. The Addiction stigma typically causes the addict to feel worse and begin to progress further into addiction. Unless the addiction is addressed correctly and the addict receives proper treatment, the cycle continues until it is interrupted. Those interruptions usually come in the form of jails, institutions and death.
Drug overdoses have sky rocketed recently. Overdose is now the leading cause of death in the United States for people under the age of 50 and it does not seem to be slowing down. It is estimated that over 50,000 people will die in 2017 from drug overdoses.
When we explain addiction and how it affects an individual, including family and friends, they become much more open to the fact that addiction is a disease. They begin to understand that the addict is not a “bad person” but is suffering from a disease that hinders not only decision making but all aspects of their life. As well as the fact that the disease is a fatal illness that, if not treated, will result in death.
Those close to the addict are often encouraged by the fact that the person can recover and live a healthy lifestyle. At Treatment Center Help, being in recovery ourselves, we know how it feels to suffer and recover from this disease. Only an addict knows what it is truly like to fight this battle. We describe how we suffered, what happened, and what life is like now.
We want to make a difference in the world and help addicts and loved ones understand that there is hope. We will join you in the fight and make sure to guide the individual through the treatment process and allow them the best chance possible at recovery.
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