Prosperity Haven

BREAKING DOWN THE STIGMA OF ADDICTION IN CLEVELAND

Substance Abuse Stigma

Anyone, from any and all walks of life, can suffer from addiction. Over the years, we’ve come to understand that this is one of the main reasons why addiction is so difficult to prevent. There are risk factors, but ultimately, it can affect anyone when they least expect it.

But society still tends to have a negative outlook on a person who is suffering from a substance use disorder or is in recovery, which leads us to ask the question: if addiction truly can affect anyone, then why is there still such a stigma?

In this piece, we’ll explore the source of these negative perceptions, how they contribute to difficulties in recovery, and what we can do moving forward to break substance abuse stigma.

WHAT IS ADDICTION STIGMA?

Stigmas exist for many reasons, but when we say, “addiction stigma,” we’re referring to any preexisting negative thoughts and feelings people may have about those struggling with substance abuse.

Many people view those with a substance use disorder as somehow “weaker” than others, or that perhaps the issue of addiction is rooted in a moral, character, or personality flaw.

But how do these perceptions affect people in recovery?

HOW STIGMA AROUND ADDICTION CREATES ROADBLOCKS FOR THOSE IN RECOVERY

Many people know someone who has been negatively impacted by drug or alcohol addiction, but as long as society continues to look down on those struggling with substance abuse issues, we can expect their lives to be more challenging — even when they seek out help by entering a rehab program. Here are a few examples:

Addiction Therapy Session

DENIAL OF RESOURCES

The stigma around substance abuse and those who suffer from it is part of a vicious cycle. People in recovery don’t have access to as many affordable resources to help them, but legislation to create funding for these resources are unpopular because society deems this population to be less deserving.

Businesses and neighborhood associations may push to get drug rehab facilities or sober living homes out of certain areas, because the stigma of drug use and addiction causes worry over property values and safety, making it difficult for addicted people to seek help locally.

The result? When a person in recovery leaves rehab and comes back home, they already have a lot of work to do in their personal lives. Unfortunately, substance abuse stigmas and stereotypes form obstacle after obstacle in our society that make it difficult for an addicted person to re-enter.

DECREASED ACCESS TO JOBS AND HOUSING

There are a few essential things that a person will need in order to truly reintegrate back into society after rehab — shelter and employment chief among them.

However, when someone comes out of rehab missing these pieces of the puzzle, they may also face stigma in their search for these things. Potential employers may look at a gap in employment, or a stint in rehab, and decide they don’t want someone with an interrupted work history on their staff. The employer may even make a mental connection between drug abuse and weakness on the job.

Similarly, a landlord might not rent to someone with a more strained financial situation brought on by expensive substance abuse. These may be areas where you can actually be of help.

HOW TO HELP: BE OPEN, AND BE A RESOURCE

There are a few essential things that a person will need in order to truly reintegrate back into society after rehab — shelter and employment chief among them.

However, when someone comes out of rehab missing these pieces of the puzzle, they may also face stigma in their search for these things. Potential employers may look at a gap in employment, or a stint in rehab, and decide they don’t want someone with an interrupted work history on their staff. The employer may even make a mental connection between drug abuse and weakness on the job.

Similarly, a landlord might not rent to someone with a more strained financial situation brought on by expensive substance abuse. These may be areas where you can actually be of help.

DESTIGMATIZING ADDICTION REHAB IN THE GREATER CLEVELAND AREA

People’s personal experiences and various social and economic barriers contribute to addiction stigma, and it’s up to all of us to chip away at it. At Prosperity Haven, we work closely with small, all-male groups to address people’s individual needs, explore what challenges brought them to us and will continue after they leave, and determine a plan of recovery that will help them stay on their feet and find the support they need after rehab, even in the face of addiction stigma.

Through evidence-based addiction treatment and holistic therapies that bring men peace on the road to recovery, we help our clients understand what stigmas are out there, and how to live well despite these prejudices and obstacles. To learn more about our Cleveland addiction treatment programs, call Prosperity Haven at 440-253-9915 today.

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