Wolf Creek Recovery offers hope and healing to individuals living with substance use disorders and their loved ones. We want all people to feel welcome at our Arizona drug rehab, which is why we treat everyone with the compassion and respect they deserve. We are also committed to breaking down stigmas and ensuring that anyone who wants to get better can.
Addiction, now often referred to as a substance use disorder (SUD), is an isolating disease, not only for the individual, but also for the family. Therefore, reducing stigma around addiction and rehab is an important step in supporting individuals and families fighting this disease. Let’s explore the dangers of stigmatization and how we can best support those living with SUD.
Stigma around Substance Use
Stigma is a discrimination against a certain group of people. It involves labeling, stereotyping and discrimination. In terms of SUDs, stigma often stems from inaccurate beliefs that addiction is a choice or moral failing instead of a chronic, progressive brain disease.
Feeling stigmatized can prevent people from getting the help they need. Substance use disorders are treatable, and people can go on to lead healthy, sober lives. But first, they need to understand that addiction is a disease that requires treatment, just like diabetes or heart disease.
Learn about Addiction as a Disease
Addiction is defined as a brain disease by most medical associations, including the American Medical Association. It is caused by a combination of biological, psychological, behavioral and environmental factors. Researchers are also finding that certain genes passed down through parents may play a role, too. In fact, genetics account for about 50 percent of a person’s risk of addiction.
While a person does make the conscious decision to experiment with drugs or alcohol, they have no control over how their brain and body will respond. These substances release high levels of certain chemicals in the brain, creating a surge of pleasure and euphoria. Constant substance use causes the continuous release of these chemicals, changing the brain’s reward and motivation systems.
Over time, the brain tries to balance this increase in chemicals by producing less, which is why people build tolerance and need more of the drug to produce the same effects. Even with dangerous consequences, people continue using substances, and this is the devastating cycle of addiction. Again, it’s not a choice or moral failing. It’s a progressive and compulsive disease.
Use Inclusive Language
Another important thing we can do to reduce stigma surrounding addiction is to use inclusive language. Some of the language we once used to describe addiction can be stigmatizing. It’s recommended to use person-first language to show that an individual has a problem and is not the problem.
Words to avoid:
Recognize that Treatment Works
Addiction is a disease, but it is treatable. Even when people don’t know how to help others with substance use disorders, they can support the need for Arizona drug rehab. Treatments work and individuals can go on to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.
For opioid use disorders, FDA-approved medication – methadone, buprenorphine and naloxone – can cut the risk for overdose death in half. These medications can also be used to treat alcohol use disorders. Sometimes, these drugs are underused due to their stigma, as some believe that it simply replaces one substance for another.
However, the medications used in medication-assisted therapy do not just substitute one addictive drug for another. These medications do not produce the high associated with opioid misuse. Instead, they balance brain circuitry, reduce cravings, manage withdrawal symptoms and promote healing.
The Office of National Policy suggests that treatment and prevention can be half the cost of incarceration. After all, being arrested and going to jail doesn’t treat addiction. Substance use disorders are a public health crisis that cost Americans more than $450 billion a year, and the majority of these costs go toward legal consequences.
This outdated way of handling crimes related to substance use is no longer effective. There are increasing calls for legislation and reforms on the local, state and national levels intended to move away from incarceration for SUD-related crimes and towards treatment services and prevention programs that actually treat the disease.
Welcome Recovery in Your Community
Some people unknowingly enforce the stigma of addiction by refusing neighborhood support for locations for SUD treatment, such as sober living homes and drug rehab centers. But this support is crucial for breaking the stigma. If a treatment center is established near your residence, or you already live near one, show your support by welcoming the center in your neighborhood.
Furthermore, there is no evidence that says that neighborhood rehab centers bring down property values. In fact, these properties tend to be well-maintained and impeccably landscaped. The people coming to and from these centers are either professionals or individuals in recovery.
Spread Positive Messages
Addiction is something that affects us all. The U.S. has experienced a devastating increase in drug overdose deaths in recent years. More than one million Americans have died from drug overdoses since 1999, and these escalating rates have also contributed to a recent decrease in U.S. life expectancy.
Most people know someone who is struggling or has struggled with addiction, and we can support their healing by spreading positive messages about recovery. If you come across an uplifting story on social media, share it! And if you know someone going through the process, help them stay motivated with inspiring quotes, poems and blog posts.
Arizona Drug Rehab: There is Hope after Addiction
Wolf Creek Recovery is an outpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in Prescott AZ. We have various levels of care to support our clients on their path to recovery. We are committed to breaking the stigma of addiction, educate individuals and families and show people in recovery that there is hope after substance use. To learn more about our programs, contact our team today.