As with many things in our society, there is an unhealthy stigma attached to addiction. There are harmful stereotypes attached to those who suffer from addiction, which cause people not to seek the treatment that they need: all addicts are liars, they are unemployable, or they never work, all addicts are violent, etc. This kind of prevailing attitude and generalizations causes a lot of people to avoid disclosing to others or even going to rehab because their absence would be noted and they would be “outed.”
Denial & Fear
Many people suffering from addiction live in a world of denial. They spend lots of time convincing themselves that they aren’t addicted to whatever their substance of choice is. They tell themselves they aren’t an addict and they start to believe it. Unfortunately, when they do eventually come to terms with the problem at hand, cessation of the drug causes very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, as they have lived in their fantasy world of not being an addict for too long and their tolerance has likely skyrocketed.
Fear is the other factor that keeps addicts from seeking help, and this usually goes hand in hand with denial. Those suffering from addiction find themselves worrying about when they are going to be getting their next fix, and this leads to an increased fear of going without their drug. This fear of going without then feeds into their fear of withdrawal and their denial then increases.
When the denial is finally left behind, and the addict admits they have a problem, the new concern emerges of how you could live without your addiction because the withdrawal is so painful. It is important to realize that this is common and all addicts go through this complex series of emotions before taking the brave steps into rehab.
Let’s Normalize It!
Part of the reason that addicts do not get the help they need is that of the stigma associated, which then leads to the addict being in denial and having a series of often paralyzing fears about recovery. One of the best ways to help with this is to normalize it. Rehabs are filled with trained professionals just like any regular hospital. The doctors, counselors, and nurses all went to medical school, they were trained sufficiently in their field, and they know what they are doing.
Much like if you fell off a ladder and broke your arm, you would go to the hospital and have it treated and have a cast put on, so should you go to a rehab facility if you or a loved one is suffering from addiction. There is no difference between the two; the only difference is society hasn’t accepted the latter.
If you or someone you know is experiencing addiction, developing an adequate treatment plan is essential to achieve recovery. A free service like Freedom From Addiction can be of help to explore the different treatment options available. For 24/7 assistance, call 1.855.RECOVER or 1.855.732.6837.
Sydney DeZinno is a writer from Tucson, AZ. A graduate of the University of Arizona, she an active advocate that is passionate about addiction recovery and helping those in crisis.
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