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Why Does Rehab Have a Stigma?

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When battling an addiction, there are many aspects of getting treatment that can make things harder for the addict. In some cases admitting there is a problem or wanting to end an addiction aren't the hardest parts. For some, the stigma surrounding rehab is enough to keep them from overcoming their addiction.

First, let’s understand what a stigma is. By definition a stigma is, a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. A stigma is enough to keep anyone from accomplishing their goal, like getting treatment at rehab. It’s easier to avoid the unwanted embarrassment, shame, discrimination, or hopelessness you’ll feel then dealing with the problem. To someone who hasn’t had any experience with addiction, whether in themselves or someone close to them, it might be hard to understand why it could be difficult for someone to go to rehab. Understanding addiction and the stigma of rehab could save a life.

To understand the stigma of rehab you must first acknowledge the misconception of addicts. When you picture someone who is an addict you would most likely picture someone who is homeless and dirty, someone you could easily pick out of the crowd. When in reality, the clean put together man sitting next to you on the bus could be addicted to drugs. Addiction does not discriminate. It will affect any race, gender, age, or culture. It can happen to the rich or the poor, it could happen to anyone.

When contemplating treatment, addicts expect to feel judgment. They are worried going to rehab will call attention to their addiction causing their friends or employers to become aware of this secret. They might not want to try rehab because they see it not work for others, such as celebrities, and think it must not work. Another issue might be them feeling like a failure because they can’t beat addiction on their own. Some may not have support to go to rehab or the ones they do have for support don’t encourage treatment for the fear of themselves being judged.

Now that you are aware of the feelings someone who is apprehensive to get treatment may be feeling, you can work to eliminate them. Whether you are an outsider or you are currently battling an addiction, by educating yourself you can take away the stigma of rehab for yourself or anyone else in your life. A stigma is created by society and even though you changing your thoughts about addiction can’t change the world in a day, you can still have an impact on someone’s life. Armed with the knowledge and understanding of this stigma, you can be an advocate for those struggling with addiction. You can also spread the word that there doesn’t need to be a stigma when it comes to treating addiction.

If you want to end your addiction, there are ways to get past the stigma of rehab. The first thing you can do is learn about addiction to understand why you became addicted in the first place. Understanding this can show you there is more to addiction than what the typical stereotypes say and anyone can have this very thing happen to them. The next thing you can do is only surround yourself with positivity. This might mean cutting ties with those who aren’t in support of you seeking treatment. You can join a support group to listen to others going through a similar struggle. They can also be a great support system in your battle with addiction. And once you complete rehab, speak to others and be there for them. Be the positive light in their lives.

Even though the stigma of rehab might never go away, educating yourself and others can help those around you in need. Most importantly don’t let what others think dictate how your life will be. Don’t wait, get help today and show others why the stigma of rehab isn’t true!

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