If you are truly honest with yourself, you will probably find that you are guilty of labeling someone with addiction needs under one of many terms. In truth, if we got out into the big wide world and conducted a survey, it would probably come back that the vast majority of us would happily call a patient in need of addiction treatment a “crackhead” or “junkie.”

The first thing we need to realize is that while these terms still seem to be widely used all over the world, they simply go to show that our thinking is still neanderthalic by association. The truth is, by using terms like this, we are just showing that we have a lack of understanding of what these people are truly going through.

Shifting From The Past Mindset

In the past, it was widely believed that addiction was nothing more than a downfall in morals or a lack of discipline. When we look at things with clearer vision, it is easier to see that addiction is far more complicated than this, and those that suffer from substance abuse issues are simple people who require treatment.

Luckily for the world, the progress and evolution of science have helped us get to grips with what addiction is. Research like this has come a long way, especially in places like here, in Kentucky. While you may not believe it, we are seated at number 8 in all of the states for having the worst number for addiction issues.

It is because of numbers like the ones here in Kentucky that the last few years have seen so much progress in the understanding of addiction. Addiction, or substance abuse disorder, as it’s more kindly known, is now known not to be a moral failing, but instead, it’s a chronic disease of the brain. 

Just like many diseases, nobody sets out to contract the disease, but it is something that if the circumstances are right could affect more people than you may think. The one thing that you need to remember about addiction as a disease is this; it’s a disease with a treatment and a cure. 

So How Can We Change The Stigma Around Addiction?

Well, the one thing that will need addressing is that everybody needs to change their way of thinking when it comes to substance abuse disorder. The first thing we can do is get a better understanding of what addiction is, and then we need to change how we speak about people who have an issue.

After this we need to ensure that everybody, medically speaking is on the same page, if we are going to help people with substance abuse disorder, then it should matter not whether you’re a therapist, doctor or dentist, we all need to work together on things like the PDMP (prescription drug monitoring program).

Finally, we need to take into account that once somebody is better, they will still need support. Unfortunately, one of the biggest reasons for relapse is a lack of support. Now, while there are some incredible centers out there helping people through their struggles, this is only part of the battle.

A New Focus On The Support Needed

In order to help post-treatment, support, love, and a better understanding of who the patient has become is imperative. 

Only by taking steps like this can we finally drop the stigma attached to patients with substance abuse disorder and finally start breaking through new barriers.