Addiction to certain substances and drugs is a far more serious issue than more people realize. People often start using drugs due to either peer pressure or mere curiosity and end up getting addicted to it. While one could blame the mainstream media for glamorizing the use of highly addictive drugs and portraying addicts in a negative light, the society as a whole has an extremely negative perception regarding drug addicts. Quite akin to mental illness, there is a certain social stigma attached to seeking help as an addict. While opting for drug rehabilitation is an extremely positive and laudable act, the society makes it harder for addicts who attempt to get their lives back on track. Overcoming this social stigma can be quite difficult and overwhelming but you can do it.
How Does Social Stigma Impact Drug Addicts
As mentioned above, drug rehabilitation is quite akin to seeking therapy for mental diseases. The people around you can be quite hurtful and demotivating. Your genuine need for help is misconstrued as weakness. It can be quite difficult for people to bear such negativity from the society and in most cases from even close friends and colleagues. The whole social stigma surrounding drug rehabilitation often has a negative impact on drug addicts and further drives you into the darkness of drug consumption.
How Can You Overcome the Social Stigma?
It is important to continuously remind yourself that you need to go for drug rehabilitation for your own sake and the sake of people you care about. Most of the negativity and social stigma stems from people’s ignorance regarding the actual challenges and difficulties drug addicts face. So, remind yourself it’s their ignorance which compels them to target you with their judgmental and hurtful comments. It’s not a weakness to know when to ask for help but rather a strength. It takes immense strength and courage to admit that you have a problem and that you require external help to face it. You need to convince yourself of your own personal strength and will.
Another way to overcome the social stigma surrounding drug rehabilitation is playing a role as an advocate. For instance, there is no social stigma related to cigarettes even though they cause cancer. Counter people’s negativity by telling them that addiction is just a disease like cancer or the stomach flu. Going to a rehabilitation center should not be a matter of shame for anyone just like going to a hospital isn’t.
Lastly, you don’t need to convince everyone. Awareness regarding certain issues takes over time. Just like the social stigma related to mental health is slowly diminishing with increasing awareness, there will be a time when people will be more educated regarding the benefits of drug rehabilitation. If you are unable to find people around you who are supportive of your decision to opt for rehab, be your own support system. You will eventually find far more considerate people at the rehab you visit, people who can relate to your urges, pain and sufferings. After all, every human yearns for empathy rather than sympathy or judgment.