Mental health is often discussed in our modern media, but the stigma attached to some disorders outweighs others. This can lead to harmful equities in the way treatment is funded and provided. It can also be a significant barrier to people seeking help. Alcohol use disorder is one mental health disorder that remains highly stigmatized, despite an ongoing awareness of addiction as a disorder of the brain.
What Did the Research Illustrate About AUD?
Research published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research supports the theory that alcohol use disorder still carries more stigma than diseases like anxiety disorder or depression. “Understanding the public stigmatization of people with mental disorders or substance use disorder is essential to reduce or eliminate negative consequences for those affected and warrants particular attention in research,” Carolin Kilian, a member of the research team, wrote.
Examining the studies, researchers found blame and anger surround stereotypes of people addicted to alcohol. Public attitudes were more judgmental and often blamed the person, rather than the disorder, for their actions. This type of belief is a common theme for people with addiction. The public also viewed alcohol use disorder as more “dangerous” and likely to commit a crime.
Anger, judgment, and fear of the addicted person are common reactions. However, public attitudes can change when people are armed with correct information.
Fighting Addiction Stereotypes, Providing Facts
Alcohol use disorder is a term that describes a spectrum of alcohol use. Not everyone who has an alcohol use disorder is physically addicted to alcohol. However, many people who binge drink or drink daily may have trouble controlling their alcohol use.
The truth is that people fear what they don’t understand. Television and other media often portray people addicted to drugs and alcohol as violent criminals. It’s hard for people to shake the stereotype, although a quick trip to a 12-step meeting like Alcoholics Anonymous would show the world that people with addictions come from all walks of life.
Sure, there are people addicted to drugs or alcohol who are homeless or commit crime. However, concurrent mental health disorders, poverty, and extended trauma are more likely to contribute to the social roots of criminal behavior.
Addiction is a disorder of the brain, and not a moral failing or “lack of willpower”.
Getting Help for Addiction
There are doctors, lawyers, teachers, sisters, mothers, husbands and brothers with alcohol use disorder. The disorder is a disease of the brain, and there is treatment available. Getting sober is the first step to recovering.
We can help you start the path towards healing in a beautiful, peaceful, comforting environment. Give us a call at US (949) 279-1376 • MX (612) 153-5726.