When behavior or attitudes don’t go along with the majority of society and its norms, they can become stigmatized. Unfortunately, addiction and substance abuse often fall into that trap. When that happens, prejudice and discrimination can result. What that does is further push those individuals who need help the most to the fringes of society, where they suffer in silence or, worse, fall victim to their illness. Because addiction is, without a doubt, a serious illness that claims thousands of lives every year. People must do more to remove that stigma and help those who really need it. Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction.
- Educate Yourself
It is easy to blame someone for their addiction. After all, they chose to try that drug or take that drink, didn’t they? In reality, it isn’t that simple. There are complex factors that come to play in whether someone develops an addiction or can safely have a few drinks with friends without worry. They can be situational, genetic, or related to other medical conditions the person is experiencing. Educating yourself about what contributes to addiction is one of the best things you can do to help destigmatize it.
- Learn About Treatment Options
Don’t stop there, though. Take time to learn how recovery is achieved. Recovery and support options can vary from weekly groups that meet at a community center to sober living facilities like Recovery House Annapolis MD. Find out what resources are in your community and see how you can get involved.
- Get Involved
Make addiction part of the mainstream conversation. The further addiction moves away from the fringes, the less stigma is associated with it. Find out what needs are in your area and how you can volunteer to help. Also, if you see someone being bullied or mistreated because of their addiction, speak up to stop the problem behavior.
Substance abuse doesn’t have to be endured alone. By removing the stigma around it, you can help someone get the help they need.