There are obvious struggles people face with drug or alcohol addiction. Still, there are also some you may not be aware of. Things such as the disease of addiction itself, the stigmas that come with being an addict, the difficulty in asking for help, and many more. We will discuss these points and others in the following article.
Addiction Is A Disease
In 1956, the American Medical Association classified alcoholism as a disease, and in 1987, drug addiction was included. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) joined the AMA, helping to define addiction as a chronic brain disorder.
You may not be able to ‘catch’ addiction like some other diseases. Nevertheless, it is possible to have specific genes passed down that make it more probable to be a drug or alcohol addict. I’m not saying that just because your mother or father was an addict, you will be as well.
While specific genes have been proposed to contribute to addiction, it is uncertain whether a true genotype can ever be discovered because of the complex personality and environmental factors that shape addiction.
The Stigma of Addiction
The National Academy of Medicine defines stigma as discrimination from institutionalization and individual practice of negative attitudes, beliefs, and actions. In other words, we will define stigma as the negative belief systems that have fostered generations of thoughts and ideas toward a particular subject.
Stigma is a pervasive force alienating those who experience addiction from medical care and recovery support. The added stress of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health system has sharply exposed these barriers, separating patients with addiction from their care teams and in-person recovery groups. The pandemic has exacerbated the weaknesses of an already fragile system—a system rife with the individual and structural stigma against patients and medications for treatment—that many individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) found difficult to enter and navigate. The need to address stigma has never been more pressing.
Individuals with drug or alcohol addiction often get kicked to the curb for negative preconceived notions brought about by the ideas and stigmas around treating addiction. It is often the case that individuals will seek treatment but either get misused by the system or manipulate it for personal benefit. For example, people struggling with addiction may have multiple doctors giving them double or even triple the prescribed dosage of a certain drug. This could and has led to the development of certain stigmas surrounding drug addiction treatment.
People showing signs of acute intoxication or withdrawal symptoms are sometimes expelled from emergency rooms by staff, fearful of their behavior or assuming they are only seeking drugs. People with addiction internalize this stigma, feeling shame and refusing to seek treatment. Beyond just impeding the provision or seeking of care, stigma may enhance or reinstate drug use, playing a key part in the vicious cycle that drives addicted people to continue using drugs.
The Challenges of Recovery
Getting the courage to ask for help is the first step. But, honestly, this is just the beginning of the struggles of addiction treatment. The challenge for first-time addiction patients is often the realization that addiction is a life-long disease. Many treatment centers offer an aftercare program that allows you to follow up with them as needed and to keep in contact in case of a relapse or setback. Over time, this becomes easier to deal with once you have set up a solid foundation on your path to recovery.
LA Valley Recovery offers a great aftercare and alumni follow-up program. To read more on this, follow the link here.
In closing, it is vital to seek help for addiction treatment if you or someone you know is suffering from the disease of addiction. It never gets easier on your own, but with a professional medical team behind you, it can be just enough to get you on the right path.
The path that takes you out of your darkness and into the light is recovery and a Life worth living.
For more information about LA Valley Recovery treatment programs, contact us today by phone at 844-777-5287 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org