How to Handle the Stigma of Addiction

Last Updated: April 11, 2023

Editorial Policy | Research Policy

There is an undeniable stigma that surrounds addiction. For those who do not know anything about the disease, it is often viewed as a moral failing instead of an illness. For someone with a substance use disorder, this can be difficult to deal with on several levels.

You might feel shame associated with your addiction because of this stigma and even believe some of the negative messages that you hear. Unfortunately, giving too much weight to these opinions could prevent you from getting the help you need and deserve at a Florida drug rehab.

What is the Stigma Surrounding Addiction?

The Drug Policy Alliance highlights the stigma of addiction and the stereotypes assigned to people who abuse substances in the U.S. Addiction is portrayed negatively in literature and other media, which gives anyone exposed this the impression that all drug addicts or alcoholics are bad people or, worse, criminals.

There is even a stigma among healthcare professionals, who should be one of the first lines of defense, particularly in light of the this nation’s opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, these widespread attitudes about addiction can have some devastating consequences.

The Negative Impact of this Stigma

When people experience stigma associated with addiction, it can have a negative impact on their life and future. Misconceptions about addiction lead people who are suffering and their loved ones to either make poor choices or avoid making any decisions at all about getting help.

Avoiding substance abuse treatment because of stigma costs lives and has a tremendous financial impact on society. When left untreated, addiction can lead to increased legal issues, lost productivity, and soaring healthcare costs.

How to Handle the Stigma of Addiction

The stigma of addiction is closely linked to a lack of understanding and education. While there is no simple way to make it disappear, there are ways to handle stigma and reduce it over time. These include:

  • Offering compassionate support to anyone with a substance use disorder
  • Listening as you withhold judgment
  • Learning about mental health conditions and their underlying science
  • Correcting others who have harmful misconceptions about addiction and mental illness
  • Seeing a person for who they are and not what substances they use
  • Supporting resources for people affected by addiction and mental illness
  • Sharing your own stories about overcoming the stigma

Finding the Best Florida Addiction Treatment

Anyone who is struggling with an addiction deserves the most effective help available instead of being defined by his or her illness. Addiction is such a prolific problem in society that most people now know someone who is struggling with a substance use disorder. Instead of being an issue related to willpower or morals, this is a disease that can be arrested with the right treatment.

Whether this stigma is impacting you or not, this condition can be managed successfully with the right treatment and support. The Florida addiction treatment program at The Orlando Recovery Center can help.

Contact us now to learn more about how our healing treatment program can help you break free from the bonds of addiction and begin the journey in recovery that you deserve.