The term “addict” carries so much baggage. People often think that addicts are lazy, irresponsible, lack willpower, and have many other character defects. Even healthcare providers—the very people charged with helping patients with illnesses like addiction—can have these impressions. The thought is that addicts are choosing to do this to themselves, when in reality the addict has lost the ability to choose.
This is the stigma. It influences people to judge and to look down on addicts. But addiction stigma isn’t fair or accurate. Addicts are people like everyone else, they just happen to have an illness.