The Mental Consequences of the Drug Addiction Stigma


Drug addiction has a stigma attached to it. If you or someone you know is addicted, this stigma can affect how you go about seeking treatment, if not at all. It can make you keep your addiction secret, which can be make the problem worse. In this article, we will dive into the stigma of drug addiction and see what can be done about it.

But First, Seek Help

Before we begin, if you are suffering from addiction or want help on your path to recovery, there is no shame in getting help from a professional. Sites such as Regain allow for online counseling for drug addiction or for any other addiction you have. You can be able to speak to a professional from the comfort of your own home and get the help you need in the moment of a crisis. Try it out.

You Think It’s All Your Fault

One public debate that has been popular as of lately is if drug addiction is a choice or a disease. People who say it’s a choice do so because the person chose to try the drug and kept doing it. However, professionals disagree, pointing to environmental and genetic influences and history on a person. Either way, this debate can make the user blame themselves and have them refusing to seek help, as they feel like they must fix the problem themselves. For some, self-treatment works, but most lack the discipline needed.

You’re Afraid to Admit You Have a Problem

The first step towards tackling an addiction is to admit that you have a problem. However, too many people are afraid to admit that they have a problem. This is because they fear the social backlash. They’re worried their peers will see them as a scumbag, or someone who is powerless. Or they may be afraid of legal consequences of coming out. The drug war certainly does not help those who are addicted, and while there have been improvements over the past while, it’s still a huge problem that affects many addicts.

You Become Distant

It’s hard to balance a drug addiction and having healthy relationships. There are some high functioning people who you may never realize are addicts, but that is usually in the minority. This can destroy your relationships, thus worsening your condition.

Who is to Blame?

It’s hard to figure out who is to blame for the drug addiction stigma. The government’s misguided war on drugs may be a reason for that, creating more problems than they can solve. There is blame in the education system as well, who relied on shaming drug users to help kids stay away for drugs. Society itself looks down upon drug users, while ironically having their own vices. We let addicts reach the point of homelessness and then shame them for being homeless and being alcoholics. It’s a hard stigma to break.

It’s easy to point fingers, but we should instead look for solutions to the drug problem and the stigma around it. If you are addicted, coming out strongly and seeking help is a good idea. If someone does not support your path to recovery, they are not much of an ally, anyway. Look to a professional to help you figure out how you can recover. Not recovering can lead to homelessness, sickness, or even death.

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