Breaking the Stigma of Drug Rehab

They say admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. For many addicts, admitting they have a problem feels like admitting to failure. Not only does this aspect stear many addicts away from entering recovery, but the stigma behind rehab itself can be part of the reason why someone will refuse to go. This negative stigma behind rehabilitation has existed for many years. In order to introduce those in need of help to the steps of becoming sober, this stigma needs to be broken.

Addiction itself comes with a nasty stigma. Those who may not understand see addicts as failures and lazy individuals who don’t want to change. These people may not understand the difficulties an addict faces when dealing with an addiction. It is not as simple as someone may think to break an addiction. Many addicts are misunderstood, and with the stigma of rehab, it can be even more difficult to convince someone to enter recovery. Here are ways we can aid in breaking that stigma.

Realize That Entering Recovery Does Not Mean Failing:

It’s easy for someone to feel that choosing to go to rehab means that they have failed. Some see rehab as a last resort; they have tried everything in their power to fix the addiction with no prevail. Entering recovery means a fresh start. Choosing to change your life for the better is not the same as failure. Rather, those who choose to enter recovery should be proud of themselves for committing to make a healthy change in their lives.

Don’t Believe the Portrayal of Rehab in the Media:

With the popularity of reality television in the last 10 years, we have seen shows about addiction and rehab alike. Many times these programs adhere to the stigma of addiction and rehab, portraying the situations in a negative light. These shows have also turned the private struggles of addiction into entertainment, scripting and planning events to make the rehab experience different than it really is. Although, these kinds of shows have mostly been taken off the air, it’s important to remember that this is not reality.

Get Informed:

Stigmas are created because people are uninformed of the issue at hand. By informing the public on what addiction and rehabilitation are really like, people can have a better understanding of it. One way to do this is to simply talk about it. The stigma of addiction brings about shame, and many people feel it is a touchy subject to talk about. By not being afraid to discuss the issue, we can learn to be more compassionate to those who need help.

Change the Language:

Words like addict, addiction, alcoholic, and druggie all have negative connotations that reinforce this stigma. Many people use these words everyday without even realizing they are aiding to the stigma of addiction and rehabilitation. The Center for Substance Abuse and Treatment (CSAT) compiled a guide of terms to use to help break the stigma of those in recovery. They emphasize using words and phrases like “patient”, “misuse”, and “wellbriety” as these words are far less associated with the negative stigma of addiction and recovery.

Show Your Support:

If you have a friend or loved one who battles addiction, make it known that you want to help them. This stigma has allowed for many people to deny that someone they care about has a problem. Don’t be an enabler; show them that you care and want them to get to a better state.

With these tips in mind, we can easily help break the stigma of addiction and rehabilitation. By looking at it with an open mind, we can help those in need, and show them that there is nothing wrong with entering rehabilitation, and that this is the first step towards a positive change.

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