A 2014 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) showed that 27 million Americans aged 12 and above had consumed illegal drugs. Of these, many undergo rehabilitation. However, during the recovery process and even afterward they have to face the stigma of being called addicts.

 

Why does labeling happen?

The stereotyping of individuals who have recovered from addiction happens because of a number of reasons. Media stereotypes of addicts, as portrayed in films and on television, do not help. The U.S government has likened addiction to a disease and its aggressive approach has led to millions being sentenced to prison for possessing drugs. The stigma of having done time in prison further contributes to the labeling of individuals as possessing weak morals.

According to the results of a study published in Psychiatric Services, people suffering from psychological disorders are more likely to gain public sympathy and acceptance than those who have suffered from drug abuse. In fact, many people disagree with the idea of programs and systems that aim to rehabilitate addicts.  Many employees feel that their employers should not hire drug addicts. Some hold an even stronger opinion – drug addicts should not receive the same health insurance benefits as others.

 

Fighting the stigma

The best way to counter misconceptions that color public perceptions about drug addicts is to talk about it. Dialogue will enable people to understand that there are many addicts out there who wish to quit and negative attitudes prevalent in society make it difficult for them to do so. If addicts and alcoholics had the assurance of support from society, they would find it easier to seek help.

Negative attitudes with respect to addicts can be countered with facts about addiction, a condition that you can get treatment and regain your life. Education will help inform society and lead to the ushering in of policies designed to assist addicts and the mentally ill.

Treatment Now understands that the road to recovering from addiction is best traversed in the company of an understanding partner. We can match you with the most suitable rehabilitation program for your situation.

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