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Fighting the Stigma: How to Care for an Addict

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Stigma is a significant source of discrimination and oppression, and it leads to human rights violations. When a person is stigmatized, they are seen as 'less' because of their actual or perceived health condition. Stigma can harm a person's self-esteem, damage relationships with loved ones, and discourage those suffering from addiction from seeking treatment.


Even though society has gone a great way in the last several decades, shame and guilt are often linked with addiction. Those who have battled with addiction are subjected to criticism at times. There are still many misunderstandings about what addiction looks like. 


It's essential to remember that we can all do a better job of reducing the stigma associated with drug usage. This is important, especially if you're planning to admit to a treatment facility like a UKAT rehabilitation centre. Fortunately, there are measures you may take to help reduce these stigmas. Here are a few examples.

Discuss their addiction and convince them to go to rehab


This looks like the easiest step, yet it is one of the most difficult for some individuals. It is not always easy to speak about one's problems with addiction, but by talking about it, you are helping to personify it. 


People may no longer see it as a distant, mysterious, and frightening thing. They may witness a genuine individual who has battled addiction and is still there in front of them, communicating about it. They can see that things can get better, that someone who has battled with addiction is not determined by it, and that they may live a happy and fulfilling life. 

Understand the facts about addiction.


Addiction is a condition that dramatically affects both the body and the mind. Some individuals do not get this and believe that addiction is just a lack of self-control to recover. 


You may be able to educate someone on something they didn't know about addiction if you can explain that it has to do with the reward area of the brain and the substances involved there. As a result, their perception of the illness and how they discuss it with people in their lives may change.

Speak up if you notice or hear anything inappropriate.


When you don't believe in what is being said or done, it's all too easier to take a step back and leave the situation. That's why it is crucial to engage and speak out to enlighten others. 


If someone is speaking negatively about addiction or using negative language, it may simply be because they don't know any better. Having someone explain why something is terrible might be what all people need to rethink their opinion. Even if it isn't, you've set seeds for them to think about.


The road to erasing the stigma around addiction is not an easy one, but if more individuals make an effort to reduce stigma in their own lives, it may make a difference in the long run. We will never discover a way forward for genuine addiction rehabilitation until we learn to respect the human rights and dignity of individuals with drug use disorders and those in treatment and stop seeing addiction as a mark of shame.