One in eight Americans suffers from alcohol addiction. Of the 20.6 million adults who suffer from an alcohol use disorder, less than 10% seek treatment. Interestingly enough, financials and availability are rarely the problems; instead, almost 96% of people who fail seek treatment for alcohol addiction do so because they believe they do not need treatment. Much of an individual’s reluctance to attend treatment is rooted in the social stigmas surrounding alcoholism.
The Stigmas of Alcohol Addiction
Stigmas prevent a lot of people suffering from alcohol addiction from getting the help they because they fear being socially and personally shamed for their behaviors or addictions. Ironically, this feeling of shame mostly occurs during the admittance of the problem and the seeking of help, not during the binge drinking itself.
Seeking out help can be hard. Even just admitting to addiction can be the hardest part as it feels like admitting failure or a moral flaw in oneself. Mental illnesses have always carried this stigma, but maybe even more so with alcohol addiction. Rather than viewing alcohol addiction as a mental illness, some people may view it as a choice or even just lack of self-control. This idea that alcoholism is a choice creates room for pointed fingers and useless guilt. The sufferer ironically never seeks treatment for their alcohol abuse in fear of admitting their own faults – when in reality alcoholism is not their fault at all, it is just an illness.
Alcohol use disorder is a disease, and just like diabetes, it can be properly managed through continual preservation. How a person finds their help can depend a lot on the individual and how they feel about their problem. It takes courage to admit a problem – especially addiction. A good first step is asking a good friend for help. If a person feels resistant to talk about it with their family or friends, group therapy meetings like Alcoholic Anonymous can be a good first step. It allows individuals to express their emotions freely without judgment and maybe even gain some advice.
How Stigmas Effect Recovery
Stigmas are some of the most detrimental setbacks when it comes to solving the addiction problem in America. The National Alliance on Mental Illness explains that stigmas are toxic to mental health as it creates an environment of fear, shame, and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment.
Drug and Alcohol rehab centers like Coalition Recovery are the most effective option for alcohol addiction treatment as it allows people to fully engage in their own path to recovery. Our alcohol rehab is completely confidential as we realize the stigmas carried behind it. We hope to eradicate the stigmas involved with addiction so more people can feel comfortable seeking the help they need.
How to Beat Alcohol Stigmas
For these stigmas to be eradicated, people must be educated on mental illness and addiction. Much of the way people view addiction is from a previous history of bigotry and misunderstanding, but if we can create awareness of the disease, it can help all those suffering feel better about themselves and about their disease. Coalition Recovery’s mantra is to innovate the treatment standard, educate the public on societal issues regarding addiction like stigmas, and to advocate for a change in both societal views and treatment of addiction overall.
We can all make a difference by raising awareness and helping everyone understand what drug and alcohol addiction truly is – a disease. A disease that is treatable. If people felt less guilty about their own disease then maybe one day more people can receive the help they need, but first, we need to spread knowledge and understanding to those who have a different perception of addiction.