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Overcoming the Stigma Surrounding Addiction

Overcoming the Stigma Surrounding Addiction



In the contemporary age, stigmatisation has observed an exponential decrease, but the ones around addiction stand stubbornly the same. The long-drawn stigmas continue victim-blaming without realising the complexities it can add to this already life-risking brain disorder. 

Sources suggest that tens of thousands of deaths are mainly contributed by illicit substances each year. However, people continue to remain ignorant about this condition. Due to pessimistic remarks, disorder-shaming, and eternal humility, people have taken a step back from seeking treatment even when they wish to cure themselves. Thus, the stigma of addiction continues to foster around us, to this day. 

Addiction stigma poses severe threats to the afflicted. Till this day, stigmas remain the number one cause for individuals to engage in more addictive habits, even when they wish to cure themselves. Suicidal thoughts and the rising cases of depression are the primary add-ons here, but that is not the only cause. 

Stigmatisation may also create practical barriers and even lead to detrimental isolation for people. People’s ability to connect and reconnect with their community and indulge in educational opportunities fade away altogether. Apart from that, it may further compound social challenges and lead to increased negative consequences on their health. Hence, there is a dire need to break out of stigma addiction today. The underlying reality of such stigmatic behaviour and the many facets of it, must also be addressed. 

Cadabams comes to us as an immediate rescuer with potential strategies to break free of this problem. By hosting psychoeducational sessions via webinars and monthly family meets, it stresses more on stigma addiction to eliminate the problem. Thus, people suffering from such addiction stigmas can reach out to their certified team, without a second thought. One can also opt for their comprehensive treatment strategies, caregiver assistance, and therapeutic guidance for the same.

Stigma of Addiction

 

Different Types of Stigma – An Increasing Concern 

Generally, there are around seven types of stigma, but the major ones are: 

Self-stigma

When the person suffering from substance abuse begins to internalise public stigma, it leads to self-stigma. People with self-stigma face numerous mental health issues and are susceptible to increased risk. 

Social Stigma 

A societal stigma where people have marginalised the idea of treating substance abuse andthey look down upon the addicted. These are more complex to fight off and may compel the addicted towards practicing hardcore isolation.

Family Stigma 

This may be the most detrimental stigma type where the family stigmatises the idea of addiction and demeans the addicted for their condition. 

Drug addiction and Stigma may not seem to be such a common problem, but they affect people in large numbers across the globe. That is why the addicted face numerous issues trying to battle this out. Here are the various effects of stigma: 

Individual effects 

People who encounter self-stigma are more prone to mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. They may show reluctance to seek medical help and may even enhance their negative responses on the same. Self-responses to help-seeking may also decline enormously. 

Societal effects 

Endorsement of negative stereotypes and prejudices may result in discrimination with mental health conditions that may force the addicted to staying shut behind their homes instead of warding off the problem. It may also increase the potential risks of drug addiction and Stigma

Family effects 

Constant remarks from the family members may force the addicted to have suicidal thoughts and engage in life-risking activities that may have long-term impacts on both the family and the addicted. 

How does the stigma of addiction affect society?

  • Discrimination and reluctance from people around often embarrasses the addict, causing them to isolate themselves and avoid treatment.
  • Many employers perceive a recovering or a past addict as a troublemaker and deny them any work opportunities. Lack of a stable environment job and stay can cause a recovering addict to relapse, making it very difficult to recover.
  • Family and close friends who do not understand the reasons for their substance use treatment options for addiction may distance themselves from the individual, perpetuating substance use.
  • The stigma of addiction instills a fear of being ostracised in the society among high-functioning addicts, which prevents them from coming forth and seeking professional help.

Stigma of Addiction

Beating Addiction Stigma – How to Overcome the Stigma of Addiction?

Stigma of addiction can cause hindrance in the already arduous recovery process. Here are some things to do to overcome the stigma

  • Acceptance – Accepting that one has a drug problem is a crucial step in the recovery process. It ensures that one is mentally ready for treatment.
  • Join a Support Group – Joining a group assures that one is not alone. Through the group, one can connect with people facing similar challenges in their recovery journey. Knowing others in recovery, having supportive families, stable careers, and friends can revive one’s confidence and motivate one to continue treatment and counselling.
  • EducateUnderstand why one turns to substance use for comfort. Learn about treatment options available, including counselling and therapies for addiction, the withdrawal symptoms, and coping mechanisms involved for recovery. Education empowers one with the knowledge to tackle triggers. Many rehabilitation centres conduct drug awareness programs that are proven to be helpful in preventing relapse.
  • Speak up – Share challenges of addiction to create awareness among people. Knowing stories of individuals and their struggles can help destigmatise addiction.

Although sharing one’s story can be daunting, it can be truly helpful in making people understand and empathise. Ultimately better awareness and continued support can help overcome stigma of addiction.

Stigma of Addiction

Frequently Asked Questions

Beating Addiction Stigma – How to Overcome the Stigma of Addiction?

Addiction stigma can cause hindrance, in the already arduous, recovery process. Here are some things to do to overcome the stigma

  • Acceptance – Accepting that one has a drug problem is a crucial step in the recovery process. It ensures that one is mentally ready for treatment.
  • Joining a Support Group – Joining a group assures that one is not alone. Through the group, one can connect with people facing similar challenges in their recovery journey. Knowing others in recovery, having supportive families, stable careers, and friends can revive one’s confidence and motivate them to continue treatment and counselling.
  • Educate – Understand why one turns to substance use for comfort. Learn about treatment options available, including counselling and therapies for addiction, the withdrawal symptoms, and coping mechanisms involved for recovery. Education empowers one with the knowledge to tackle triggers. Many rehabilitation centres conduct drug awareness programs that are proven to be helpful in preventing relapse.
  • Speak up – Share challenges of addiction to create awareness among people. Knowing stories of individuals and their struggles can help destigmatize addiction.

Although sharing one’s story can be daunting, it can be truly helpful in making people understand and empathise. Ultimately better awareness and continued support can help overcome the stigma of addiction.

Why is addiction hard to overcome?

Addiction leads to alteration in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and in the person’s dopamine cycle. It impairs judgment and impulse control making it difficult to make good decisions and the body starts depending on excess dopamine to function properly.

How can stigma be reduced?

Stigma can be reduced when we realise that addiction is a social issue. People suffering from substance use disorders should not be persecuted for their choices. One must educate oneself about factors that can cause a predisposition to addiction. The family and the individual must realise that battling stigma is a necessary step to recovery.

What are the different types of stigma?

The different types of stigma include self-stigma, family stigma, and public stigma. Self stigma can be the most detrimental as it affects the individual’s self-perception and may inhibit them from leading on the path to recovery. 

How can stigma affect the family?

Family stigma and public stigma may be a source of shame for the family and they may feel ashamed to help their loved ones recover. In some cases, it may cause imbalances in the family structure and promote hostility in the family. This may in turn, impede recovery.

How does Cadabams treat addiction?

Cadabams recognizes the social and family aspects of addiction as well. It provides support groups for individuals and families. There is a 24/7 support with immediate crisis intervention and a multifaceted team of psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, etc. Cadabams takes evidence and solution-based treatment plans which are customized for every individual.

Is it easy to break out of Stigma? 

With Cadabams, it is easy to break out of Stigma as they host diverse sessions to eliminate this problem comprehensively via their psychoeducational and family sessions. 

Can Cadabams help treat this problem urgently? 

With their 24*7 support, they make it easier for people to reach out to them to help break out stigmatised behaviour regarding the addicted. So, yes, they can help treat this problem at the earliest. 

Disclaimer 

Addiction and Stigma go hand-in-hand. But it is high time to help society break out of it. If you know someone suffering from acute addiction, please enable them to reach out to Cadabams urgently. If you need more information about treatment options for addiction or have any queries, do mail us at info@cadabams.org. Or visit us at Cadabam’s Anunitha. You can also reach out to us on our 24/7 helpline number- +91 96111 94949.