While society’s views and understanding of addiction, on the whole, have improved over the years, there are still many myths surrounding it. Those who’ve never experienced what it’s like to be addicted to drugs or alcohol, or to feel the compulsion toward engaging in unhealthy behaviors despite the wreckage it may cause, often have a distorted view of what it’s all about.
Furthermore, the stigma associated with addiction can be quite harmful. People who don’t understand addiction frequently have misconceptions about it, assuming perhaps that addicts come from broken homes, that they’re prone to violent outbursts and domestic abuse, or even that they’re homeless.
These stereotypes are outdated and they simply have no merit. Unfortunately, however, the stigma surrounding addiction often prevents people from seeking help or getting treatment.
Let’s get one thing straight: addiction doesn’t discriminate. Addiction is also not a moral failing.
One of the most common stereotypes surrounding addiction is that it’s a moral failing. People often think that addiction comes from a lack of willpower and that we, as addicts, choose to stay addicted to drugs, alcohol, and other compulsive behaviors.
The reality of addiction is that it’s complex and usually involves genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. And, while each person who struggles with addiction may have unique factors that contribute to them being addicts, the one thing that’s common to all addicts is that they typically can’t stop using on their own.
Addiction must be managed regularly.
Moreover, addiction is chronic and must be managed regularly. No amount of “treatment” is ever going to 100% “fix” an addiction. Much like diabetes or heart disease, addiction is something that must be treated regularly. Perpetuating myths about how addiction only affects certain types of people, or that people choose to be addicts, inadvertently scare people who are struggling away from getting treatment for fear of being judged. Therefore, understanding these types of myths and rejecting them is essential, particularly when it comes to supporting those who are struggling.
Don’t be discouraged by the stereotypes.
If you think you may have a problem with addiction, please don’t be discouraged by stereotypes, and don’t let the stigma keep you from getting help. You’re not a bad person, and you’re not morally flawed. Far from it. Remember that addiction is chronic and it behaves like any other disease in that it cannot go away on its own. It’s progressive and it must be treated.
Keep an open mind.
And, for those out there who know anyone struggling with addiction, keep an open mind and don’t buy into the stereotypes. The people who are battling this very real “dis-ease” are real humans with real struggles who need our empathy and not our judgment.
Educate yourself on addiction.
A great way for you to do your part in reducing the stigma surrounding addiction is to educate yourself. More often than not, stigmas are perpetuated by misinformation as well as assumptions that aren’t based in fact. Treating everyone equally and with respect is a good place to start, and it can help foster an environment where those struggling with addiction aren’t afraid to get the help they need.
Kembali Recovery Center can help.
If you or someone you love is struggling to get or stay clean, Kembali Recovery Center is here for you. Also, if you’re worried about the stigma associated with addiction, our experienced counselors are available and ready to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Contact us today to learn about our inpatient treatment program. And please remember, you never have to do this alone.