Words and Attitudes Matter
As a society, there is a still a lack of understanding when it comes to addiction as being a brain disease, often precipitated by heredity or difficult life circumstances, and not a moral failing of the person. Due to this, many families do not reach out for help and those who are dependent keep their struggle a secret. By doing this, a large psychological burden is put on the entire family while allowing the person’s disorder to worsen and become more difficult to treat.
We need to encourage those affected to get support and treatment. The entire family needs to be met with compassion and understanding. We must personally make efforts not to avoid them or have them feel shame. We need to give them the space to talk about their reality and listen without making judgements. We need to encourage the impacted family to get the assistance they need, offer our support and research where available.
As a community, we also need to think about how we refer to those with substance use disorder. Words Count. If we choose the right ones, we can help people feel comfortable about addressing their situation. If we use hurtful words, then we contribute to the shame that prevents people from getting help. The following resources are available to help fight the stigma of substance use disorder and the treatments available.