Society often thinks of drug addiction in a very negative light. With more than 75% percent of people believing drug addiction to be a choice, there is a lot of misinformation circulating in communities at large.
The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-V) categorizes drug abuse as substance use disorder, and carries a list of characteristics associated with addiction as a disease, meaning the element of “choice” changes over time as the addiction becomes a disease of the mind. Most of these characteristics apply fully to those afflicted with drug addiction and alcoholism.
Drug addiction is a disorder affecting the individual’s brain chemistry that stems from an obsessive-compulsive desire. It is not a matter of will power that allows drug addicts to keep abusing their mind and bodies. It is a disorder that is claiming lives by the thousands, and is now believed to be much more of a medical condition than in years past.
Drug Addiction Stigmas
In charming small towns and urban cities, Washington serves as the backdrop for a nasty preconceived notion–that drug addicts and alcoholics choose to be this way. While not everyone in the state is under this delusion, there is still a nasty stigma amongst the majority that addicts choose their addictions by some lack of moral reasoning.
Addicts are harshly judged and discarded in places of employment, schools, homes, and other community activities. This addiction stigma affects the behavior of drug addicts because it lowers their self-esteem and self-worth, making them want to use even more, and keeping them bound to the belief that they cannot get help.
This disease and this stigma both destroy families, friendships, and work relationships. Breaking the stigma of addiction is now more important than ever. And it starts with knowledge, understanding, and acceptance.
Education for the Public
Addicts and alcoholics live in a desolate cycle of destruction. They are filled with guilt, shame, and remorse. They know secretly that they shouldn’t be doing the terrible things they put themselves through, but most of them cannot stop.
This is not because of a lack of will power–it’s actually due to a change in their brain chemistry as a result of using drugs over time. The more people understand this, the more they can stop dealing out harsh judgements for addicts.
If coming from a place of compassion and acceptance, a collective healing will take place. Even children are overdosing, and many more adults are succumbing by the thousands to drug addiction.
If the general public does their best to understand the science behind this disorder, then we can truly help our fellow sufferers to get treatment. Knowing the resources available in your community and the right steps to take are all you need to know in order to help others overcome their addictions.
Treating the Stigma
Licensed treatment centers have done an excellent job of employing medical staff to assist in the education and ease of withdrawal symptoms. Families of addicts are healed when their loved ones get help. This healing is contagious, and often creates a ripple effect extending beyond the immediate household and into the community.
You can help others who are struggling with addiction to get better in just a few simple steps. It’s time we end the stigma. Learn more about what you can do for yourself or someone suffering from addiction. Contact us to get help today.