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How Does Addiction Stigma Affect Those With Drug Dependency?


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Up to 591,000 people suffered from heroin use disorder in 2015 including 6,000 teenagers and 155,000 young adults. If you're suffering from opioid addiction, odds are you've faced some sort of stigma.

Stigma is a set of negative beliefs that are held by a society about a group of people. Addiction stigma is unfortunately common.

The stigma against those suffering from addiction has led to a lack of support for insurance, employment opportunities, housing, and treatment.

In fact, many people suffering from opioid abuse disorder and alcohol abuse disorder choose not to seek treatment because of the stigma attached to these issues.

What's the impact of addiction stigma on treatment?

Those who suffer from addiction may feel uncomfortable seeking medical treatment. This includes both treatments for their addiction and for other medical conditions.

The perceived stigma in the healthcare industry can keep addiction sufferers from talking to their doctors. It also keeps them from maintaining their well-being and a good quality of life.

Fortunately, the Afford Care Act (ACA) includes benefits for addiction treatment. Those who have Medicaid or have purchased plans through other eligible health insurances are able to receive treatment services.

Unfortunately, stigma isn't limited only to the health industry. Addiction stigma can also harm people's social lives. Those suffering from addiction may feel a lack of support from their family and community.

Without support, a person can experience loneliness, isolation, and depression. As a result, they may hide their drug use from their friends, family, and doctor out of shame to avoid stigma.

The mental health consequences of isolation and depression can cause further drug use and relapse.

How can I fight back against stigma?

To help promote addiction treatment and encourage people to reach out for help, it's critical to reduce addiction stigma. Here are a few ways you can help to reduce the stigma surrounding addiction:

  • Learn about drug dependency
  • Show compassion and support
  • Ask how you can help
  • Treat those suffering from addiction with respect
  • Avoid using hurtful labels
  • Replace negative opinions with evidence-based facts

Chicago methadone clinics like Sundance Methadone Treatment Center are a great place to start if you don't know where to seek treatment for your addiction.

Methadone treatment programs have a success rate of 60% to 90% compared the 5% to 10% success rate of abstinence-based only programs. To learn more about how Chicago methadone clinics can help you recover from heroin and opioid addiction, contact Sundance Methadone Treatment Center today.

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