Addiction affects many people in the UK and probably one of the major barriers to those affected getting the treatment they need is the fact that addiction carries a certain stigma. Many people who suffer from addiction would rather live in denial than admit that they are suffering from what many believe is a weakness or a character flaw.
The truth is that addiction is an illness that requires treatment – in many cases from a medical professional. However, those who have developed this illness feel a sense of shame or embarrassment and will try to hide their problem rather than admit to it and seek help.
It is society in general that imposes these stigmas on those affected; the problem is that even some family members and friends will cause hurt with their reactions to their loved ones’ addictions. It can be difficult to understand addiction unless it affects you personally and some people cannot get their heads around why others have a need to engage in a particular activity or have an uncontrollable desire for certain substances.
The Danger of Stigmatising Addicts
When it comes to those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, there are certain stereotypes that automatically come to mind. This has a lot to do with the media and how addicts are often portrayed. Most people assume that drug addicts and alcoholics are unemployed and from bad areas. They make assumptions that all drug addicts take their drugs on the streets and are criminals. However, this is not always the case.
It is true that some drug addicts and alcoholics have fallen on hard times and have found themselves homeless and living on the streets, but many others live in their own homes and go to work every day yet still suffer with the weight of their addiction.
Addiction is not something that affects one type of person. People young and old, rich and poor can develop dependencies on drugs or alcohol, or can become addicted to certain activities such as dieting, gambling, sex, or shopping.
One of the dangers of stereotyping people with addiction is that these people may be discriminated against because of their problem. For example, if an employer discovered that one of his/her staff members had an addiction, he/she may be tempted to fire that person for being untrustworthy.
Addicts are often wrongly accused of crimes simply because they are suffering from an addiction. Moreover, many former addicts find it difficult to get work when potential employers discover that they have previously suffered from an addiction. It is not hard to see why so many addicts refuse to admit their problem and get help.
How to Cope with Addiction Stereotyping
If you are suffering from an addiction, you are likely going to face some form of stereotyping. However, it is important to accept that you are suffering from an illness that is not your fault. Once you have accepted this, it will be easier to seek help.
Addiction is a treatable illness and there are many wonderful facilities all over the UK where you can get help. Many people find that group therapy sessions are extremely helpful when it comes to dealing with the stigma of addiction. Being around other individuals suffering from the same problems can make it much easier to cope.
If you are suffering from addiction and need help, contact Rehab Helper today. Our expert advisors have the information and expertise you require to begin your journey towards sobriety. They can assess your situation and put you in touch with a suitable treatment provider in your area. Call today for free, confidential advice.