The stigmatized approach to addiction stems from several healthcare providers’ negative attitudes toward persons who struggle with addictions, as well as their views that addiction is caused by poor individual choices, “character defects,” and moral flaws. These sentiments and beliefs are shared by the populace at large.
Individuals struggling with addictions are sometimes shamed more by healthcare personnel than by other people. According to a study of primary healthcare physicians’ opinions on the prescription painkillers problem, the majority of them were reluctant to work directly with someone who was addicted to prescription painkillers. A large percentage also agreed that people with addictions are hazardous and that companies should be able to refuse them employment, and that’s something that occurs daily in the United States.
People who struggle with addiction deserve empathy and non-discriminatory healthcare. It is important to learn more about addiction, so we can end the stigma for ourselves and our loved ones. Here are some ways we can tackle the stigma of addiction.
Understanding the Mental and Social Impact of Stigma
People’s social lives can be severely harmed by perceived stigma. People who struggle with addiction usually experience personal and psychological health problems as a result of discrimination. People struggling with it may feel driven to the periphery of society, losing touch with the family and community, and experiencing extreme isolation and loneliness.
When an individual loses social links or someone to talk to, they are less likely to seek medical help or treatment. They’re also much more likely to experience other mental health issues like depression. They’re more inclined to conceal their substance use from doctors to avoid prejudice and humiliation, which does a lot of damage. Isolation’s repercussions on psychological health can even drive increased drug use, contributing to further isolation. Eventually, it makes it even more difficult to escape this vicious cycle.
This perceived stigma may sometimes be internalized. People who use drugs may perceive themself as deviants, which can hurt their self-worth and identity. Drug addiction has long been thought to be unethical or a consequence of a lack of control. These attitudes start contributing to stigma and make it difficult for people to get the help they need. So, the very first step to tackle this stigma is to understand and acknowledge the barriers that people struggling with addiction go through.
People can provide care, compassion, and empathic support by participating in educational programs and modeling non-stigmatizing behavior. Then, you can also give them options specially now that we have the option to consult online with this online suboxone clinic for people with substance use disorder specifically opium.
Actively Fighting the Stigma
People say they are often stigmatized by healthcare professionals, family members, and the public at large. No one enjoys being judged or dehumanized, regardless of the circumstances. To encourage more people to seek out treatment and embark on the journey to recovery, it’s indeed vital to make efforts to lessen the stigma that surrounds their situation in their capacity. People can provide care, compassion, and empathic support by participating in educational programs and modeling non-stigmatizing behavior.
Changing the Narrative
Acknowledging that public views are impacted by the common words and imagery used to represent communities and individuals is crucial. Being dedicated to de-stigmatizing the vocabulary surrounding drug and alcohol addiction, and how addiction is portrayed in the media and entertainment industry, and within our institutions.
Encouraging the renaming of the federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to avoid the morally tainted and erroneous word of “abuse.” This is about showing a willingness to dispel prejudices and misconceptions that have a detrimental impact on how drug use problems are perceived and treated in the community.
Being Responsible as a Community and as Professionals
Healthcare professionals should make it their mission to demolish the stigmatized narrative of addiction whenever they see it. They are responsible for helping clients redefine and surpass their internal shame and stigma, which itself is fed and perpetuated by negative stereotypes. These initiatives not only benefit clients in rehabilitation clinically, but they also motivate more people suffering from active addictions to seek help. Individuals can also affect the public’s perception and policies regarding the issues of addiction as well as the possibility of healing on a broader, social scale.
Tips On Tackling the Stigma on an Individual Level
Other than community care, here are some tips to tackle the stigma associated with drug addiction on an individual level.
- Avoid labels that be harmful.
- Compassion towards persons who are in vulnerable circumstances.
- Offering empathetic assistance is an effective approach for everyone to help minimize stigma.
- When you notice someone being mistreated due to their drug consumption, take a stand for them
- Listening without making a judgment.
- Doing homework and making active efforts to understand drug addiction & how it works.
- Seeing someone for who they are rather than what substances they consume.
- People who are addicted to drugs should be treated with decency and respect.
- Share your personal experiences with stigma.
- Make an effort so the negative attitudes can be replaced by evidence-based information.
Drug addiction is complex and people who are struggling with addiction most of the time refrain from getting the help they deserve because of the unnecessary stigma that they experience from the community and sometimes even the health care professional. Unlearning and growing past these stigmas are crucial.
Some tips to tackle this stigma are but are not limited to:
#1 Understanding how the stigma impacts the mental and social health of the people struggling with addiction and how it can lead to isolation
#2 To encourage more people to seek out treatment and embark on the journey to recovery, it’s indeed vital to make efforts to lessen the stigma.
#3 Providing care, compassion, and empathic support by participating in educational programs and modeling non-stigmatizing behavior.
#4 Being dedicated to de-stigmatizing the vocabulary surrounding drug and alcohol addiction, and how addiction is portrayed in the media and entertainment industry, and within our institutions.
#5 Being careful about the language we use around drug addiction
#6 By making it our mission to demolish the stigmatized narrative of addiction whenever we see it because we are responsible for helping our clients redefine and surpass their internal shame.