Addiction is a disease that affects millions of people all over the world. Unfortunately, it also carries with it a lot of stigma and shame. This stigma can make it very hard for people struggling with addiction to get help. In this blog post, we will discuss how to fight the stigma around addiction and create a more supportive environment for those who are affected by it.
Stigma around addiction
Merriam-Webster defines stigma as “a mark of shame or discredit.” People struggling with addiction often feel shame due to their disease’s nature.
The stigma around addiction comes from a lot of different sources. Society at large often has a negative view of people struggling with addiction. This means that a person’s family members, friends, and even strangers can all contribute to the negative perception of addiction. This stigma can make it hard for people to seek help, because they may feel like they will be judged or misunderstood.
Fighting the stigma around addiction starts with education. It is important to learn about what addiction is and how it affects people. Once you have a better understanding of the disease, you will be able to see past the stereotypes and judgments that are often placed on those who suffer from addiction.
Remember that addiction is a disease
It is also important to remember that addiction is a disease, and people who suffer from it are not bad or morally corrupt. Addiction is something that anyone can struggle with, regardless of their background or circumstances.
Substance use disorder
Addiction can be clinically diagnosed as substance use disorder. Substance use disorder is a mental health disorder that affects a person’s brain and their ability to control the use of substances like prescription medications or alcohol.
In recent years, our culture has worked hard to combat the stigma associated with mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. This has been a huge step forward in helping people suffering from these diseases get the treatment that they need.
However, the same strides have not been made in eliminating the stigma around addiction. You can help to fight the stigma around addiction by remembering that it is a disease just like any other mental health condition.
Support people during and after treatment
If you know someone who is struggling with addiction, be supportive and understanding. Let them know that you are there for them and that you want to help them get better. Showing compassion can go a long way in helping to fight the stigma around addiction.
Supporting people who are working toward recovery helps to humanize the people who suffer from this disease. Too often, we only see addiction as a problem that needs to be fixed. But people who are in recovery are just like anyone else. They have hopes, dreams, and goals. Showing support during this difficult time can help to fight the stigma and show people that they are not alone.
Spread the message
We all have a voice. One powerful way to help fight the stigma around addiction is to use your voice to do so. Talk to your friends and family about the issues that this stigma can create. Let them know that you’re doing what you can to fight the stigma and invite them to join you.
Use social media for good
Thanks to social media, each of us has the chance to amplify our voices. We can use social media to fight stigma in many different ways. A few examples are:
- Sharing posts about people who have successfully completed recovery programs
- Using hashtags that are concerned with fighting the stigma
- Sending encouraging messages to people you know who need support
The stigma around substance use disorder is a big issue and no person can fight it alone. Start using your voice right where you are and encourage others to join you in the fight!
Share your recovery story
One in ten US adults has a drug use disorder at some point in their life. This means that the issue is often more widespread than we realize.
If you’re a person who has battled addiction and has come out on the other side, sharing your story with the people around you is a powerful way to fight the stigma. It can sometimes be challenging to tell these stories, so just share whatever you’re comfortable with. But know that sharing your story helps to further humanize the disease and create empathy for people struggling with addiction.
At Isaiah House, we have countless stories of people who have overcome addiction and experienced dramatic life changes. We openly share these stories because not only do they help fight stigma, but they encourage others by showing them that recovery is possible.
Get connected with Isaiah House
Isaiah House is a faith-based, non-profit addiction treatment center that provides substance use disorder treatment for men and women. Our programs have a total of 201 residential beds and 100 beds for transitional living. We are nationally accredited by CARF and licensed by the state of Kentucky.
The work that we do every day helps to fight the stigma around addiction. If you want to join us in the fight, we have multiple volunteer opportunities and ways for you to donate. Every small effort helps make a difference in the lives of people recovering from addiction.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use disorder, we are here to help. We want to walk with you through these hard times and help get you on the road to recovery. Reach out to us today.