Why Is There a Stigma Surrounding Drug Rehab?

Posted in: Treatment

June 18, 2014

A man covering his eyes

Addiction rehabilitation is the process in which a person receives professional help with a substance addiction in order to regain control of his life. It focuses on removing the substance from the person’s body through a detoxification process, helping the person identify the reasons behind his addiction and teaching him ways to avoid substance abuse in the future. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the individual treatment program and how much time the person is willing and able to commit to rehabilitation. Addiction rehabilitation is able to help millions of people each year stop abusing substances and live a healthy and substance-free life. Despite the many benefits of rehabilitation, though, many people view it negatively, seeing it as an embarrassing and unmentionable part of someone’s life. It’s therefore essential that people considering getting help with their addiction understand that rehabilitation is a positive and healthy decision to make in order to achieve sobriety and regain control of their lives.

Most people who struggle with substance abuse and dependence don’t get any form of professional treatment for their problem. The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that only 2.5 million Americans 12 years and older, or one percent of the population of people who had a problem with substance abuse or dependence, actually received professional rehabilitation care. This statistic clearly suggests that many Americans view getting help with an addiction at a rehabilitation program as a negative event that must be avoided if at all possible.

Common Misconceptions about Drug Rehabilitation

What many people don’t realize about addiction rehab, is that getting professional help is often the only real way for a person to manage his addiction and find power in his life. David Sack, MD explains that a lot of people have several common misconceptions about addictions, and these misunderstandings make them afraid to find help when they realize they are struggling with an addiction. He lists the following misconceptions, as well as the truth behind them:

  • Addiction is a choice: most scientists agree that addiction is a disease brought on by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
  • People with addictions deserve what they get: people with addictions are not bad or weak; on the contrary, addictions happen to normal people who are merely affected by a disease that must be treated with professional help.
  • Addiction treatment is about shame and confrontation: getting help with an addiction should focus on the person figuring out how his addiction developed and how she can manage it in the future. It should also offer support and encouragement to the person throughout this process, as many people with addictions suffer from physical, psychological, and social issues that must be handled with compassion and care.

Perhaps the biggest reason people view addiction rehabilitation negatively is because they don’t understand it. While the media sometimes portrays the rehabilitation process as focusing on embarrassment and punishment, many addiction rehabilitation centers offer positive and encouraging environments in which a person can work through his addiction-related issues and learn how to live life substance-free. These centers have trained staff that help their patients become sober and stay in recovery long-term.

Where to Find More Information about Drug Rehabilitation

Addiction rehabilitation has grown a bad reputation over recent years because of widespread misconceptions about addiction, and because of negative media coverage. Those who do receive treatment for their addictions, though, are able to restart their lives in a productive and powerful way. If you or someone you care about is struggling with a substance addiction, please call us today at 615-490-9376. Our admissions coordinators are available to help you find a treatment plan that’s right for you.

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