We live in a world where people are eager to assume the role of moral judges and are quick to stigmatize other people who are battling substance abuse.
In the eyes of many, people who are addicts are morally flawed and imperfect but have you ever realized that you may be causing more harm and in fact doing no good by stigmatizing these people?
These are 8 powerful ways stigma contributes to substance abuse. Also, check here for the best drug treatment NYC.
- These people become reluctant to get treatment: It’s natural for humans to rebel when their self-esteem is attacked by others. And this is exactly what happens when people stigmatize substance addicts, to protect their bruised ego they become less enthusiastic about seeking help to redress their condition.
- The use of words like addicts, drug abuse, dirty or clean describing a toxicology screening result, committed suicide, war on drugs, drug habit are harsh languages that project people suffering from substance abuse as complacent. It makes these people appear as lacking the self-control needed to remedy their situation.
- Stigmatized people become more isolated from their social environment: By realizing they are perceived as morally flawed, people suffering from substance abuse disorder avoid social interactions and become more withdrawn from what’s happening around them. Doing this aggravates their condition as they may continue to seek solace in the substance abuse.
- Stigmatized people have damaged self-esteem: damaged self-esteem is inherent to stigmatizing people as they may start to believe that others’ perception of them is really true. This may cause them to see themselves as weak and inadequate compared to others. Findings reveal this may push them further down the abyss of substance abuse.
- Stigmatization may lead to mental disorder: People who believe they are inadequate will automatically conclude they lack the willpower to bring themselves out of the rut of substance abuse. This means they will continue to indulge in the abuse and this may consequently result in mental disorder.
- They may start to inflict self-harm: stigmatized people feel unappreciated. Hence, they feel their life isn’t worth much and the continued indulgence in abuse may lead them to start experimenting with repetitively harming themselves and using the substance they are addicted to numb the pain from the self-inflicted injury.
- Shaming people battling with substance abuse disorder can make them give up on their recovery program altogether: The recovery journey is not very challenging and having negative or pessimistic people around the person going through this recovery can make them give up on the process. Pessimistic people tend to see these people’s efforts as hopeless and they can just give up altogether.
- Stigmatization prevents people from educating themselves on these disorders: The fear of other people judging them will make them too ashamed to do this. This lack of education will translate into more substance abuse disorders or mental illness as people who are unknowingly addicted to substance abuse will not know they have a problem and Hence take no remedial action.
- The ripple effect of stigmatizing people who seek addiction treatment may affect the people close to them: Stigmatization usually involves the invasion of people’s privacy and this may negatively impact other people who are close to the affected persons. These people may succumb to substance abuse just to prove a point. Therefore the problem of substance abuse persists.
- People labeled with substance abuse stigma usually achieve a lesser level of success even if they register for treatment programs: This is because they will believe people will continue to perceive them the same way and judge them based on their substance abuse history.