The Common Stigma Of Addiction And Chronic Illness Essay

The Common Stigma Of Addiction And Chronic Illness Essay

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Over this course, I have learned about stigmas and discrimination that prevent patients from receiving the care they need. Two stigmas that I found most compelling were on the subjects of addiction and chronic illnesses. People who are affected by addiction and chronic illness both face blame, but in reality, anyone can be affected by addiction or chronic illness. Those afflicted by addiction and chronic illness should not be held to a different level of care due to the social stigmas surrounding the diseases.
The common stigma in addiction is that it is your own fault. People think that if you were unwise enough to get addicted, you can get yourself out of addiction, and that only the addict is to blame for getting addicted. This thought isn’t true as close to half of addiction is based on genetics and the other half from environment (Definition of Addiction, 2011). People stereotype addicts as a junkie, but as we saw from the lecture on substance abuse, every person up on the stage was a normal person who faced a serious addiction and none of them fit the stereotype of the junkie (Collegiate Student Recovery Panel, 2016). This stigma persists because people don 't want to feel bad for junkies by blaming the user nor do they want to see their tax dollars go towards programs that are seen as enabling.
A similar stigma exists with chronic illness where individuals are scrutinized that their actions lead to their situation. People believe that chronic diseases are due to poor life choices. Many chronic illnesses are not even treated because health care is more focused on infectious disease (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2010). The most damaging occurs in illnesses where there are no visible or physiological signs of distress, su...


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...rvision sites have been set up; substance analysis centers, and access to opiate substitution therapy have all worked to reduce deaths in overdose (Dreifuss, 2016). We need to show alcoholics that life is normal after recovery by continuing such programs as the college recovery dorms, where they can face the stress of college while reducing the chances of a relapse (Moore, 2012). To combat the stigmas surrounding chronic illnesses, we need to educate individuals in school about what causes chronic illness. This will reduce both those affected by chronic illnesses and help those understand that sufferers of chronic illnesses are not to blame. In order to execute these changes, we need to continue the social shift towards acceptance and healthcare for our fellow citizens and elect officials who understand that this shift is crucial for the continued success of society.

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