Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Overcoming Stigma

One of the many difficult aspects of addiction is dealing with the stigma that accompanies it - making it harder for individuals and their families to deal with their problems and get the help that they need.  Stigma involves labeling, stereotyping, social rejection, and exclusion, as well as clients internalizing society’s negative view of addiction and feeling shameful.
Personal strategies to deal with stigma include concealing the problem, withdrawing from social situations and selective disclosure, which all prevent individuals from seeking the help that they need.
Below are some helpful tips to deal with stigma:
  • Get treatment. You may be reluctant to admit you have a condition that needs treatment. Don't let the fear of being "labeled" with addiction or a mental illness prevent you from seeking help.
  • Don't let stigma create self-doubt and shame. Stigma doesn't just come from others. Seeking help, educating yourself, and connecting with others can help you overcome destructive self-judgment.
  • Don't isolate yourself. Reach out to people you trust for the compassion, support and understanding you need. 

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