Person Protesting Stigma

How You Can Help Destigmatize Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder

Unfortunately, there is the stigma surrounding mental health and substance use disorders. The stigma can negatively impact someone’s relationships, self-esteem and recovery. It can stop them from even wanting to admit they need help. Do you struggle with a mental health and substance use disorder? If so, don’t let stigmatization stop you from getting treatment. Reach out to our ARIA FL team to get into recovery today.

Prevalence of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Stigmatization

We do live in a world where there are millions of United States citizens who are addicted to alcohol and/or drugs. There are also millions of people who struggle with a mental health disorder. Most of those who have an addiction have mental health issues, too, which is known as a co-occurring disorder. 

Even with the millions of people who struggle with mental health and substance use disorder issues, many of them never get treatment. Part of the reason for this is due to feeling stigmatized. There are negative attitudes and beliefs toward those who have an addiction to drugs and alcohol and those who have a mental health disorder, too. 

What Stigma Looks Like 

Anyone can become addicted to alcohol or drugs. We must remember that when we talk about addictions and mental health disorders. Even if you aren’t the one that has the addiction, that doesn’t make those who have it bad people. It doesn’t make them any less of a human being than you because the addiction could have impacted you the same way. 

With this being said, it is important to know what stigma looks like and how it can hurt people. Some of the things it can do include:

  • Prevent people from asking for help
  • Cause a relapse
  • Lower self-esteem 
  • Reduce recovery progress 
  • Isolate themselves from others
  • Hide mental health symptoms 

These are just some of the ways that stigmatizing mental health and substance use disorder issues can negatively impact people. 

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If you know someone who is dealing with an addiction and/or mental health disorder, let them know you want to help them get treatment. Don’t judge or talk down to them. Allow them to open up to you about their issues. By doing all these things, you can help to end the stigma surrounding mental health and substance use disorder issues. 

Stigma and the Impact on Treatment

Unfortunately, those who are stigmatized aren’t as likely to get the treatment they need. This can increase the medical, social and economic costs. Throughout the United States, the cost of untreated mental health and substance use disorder problems adds up to about $510 billion. 

Sometimes, there is a stigma in doctor’s offices surrounding addiction and mental health disorders. For example, the way that a doctor and/or nurse handle or talk about substance use and mental health disorders can sway someone away from admitting they need help. With this being said, it is very important that doctors and other medical professionals do their best to make their patients feel more comfortable talking about addiction and mental health symptoms. That way, they can get the treatment they need without feeling judged or lonely throughout their recovery. 

The good news is there are many health insurance plans that can help to pay for addiction and mental health disorder treatments. Due to the Affordable Care Act and other insurance programs, these issues are treated just like physical health conditions in that they are covered, so more people can improve their quality of life. 

Harm Reduction and the Stigma of Addiction and Mental Health Disorders

If someone feels they are being stigmatized regarding their mental health and substance use disorder issues, they aren’t likely to reach out for help. This can lead to more:

  • Avoiding getting help
  • Needle exchanges
  • Drug and alcohol consumption
  • Increased risk of overdose and/or alcohol poisoning
  • Unsafe activities while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs

If you know someone that is suffering from substance abuse and/or mental health issues, don’t let them feel alone in this fight. If you can stop stigmatizing drug and alcohol abuse along with mental health issues, it can truly help others to see that it’s perfectly normal and safe to ask for help. 

mental health and substance use disorder

Mental and Social Impact of Stigmatization

The perceived stigma surrounding mental health and substance use disorder issues can lead to a lot of harm to mental and social health statuses. For example, the chronic stress someone experiences when they are being discriminated against due to mental health and substance abuse issues can lead them to lose contact with their family members, friends and the community. This further amplifies loneliness, isolation and suicide risk. 

The more isolated someone feels, the less likely they will be to get treatment. They are also more likely to avoid telling their doctors they are struggling with addiction or mental health symptoms. If they were on prescription medications and experience stigma, they are less likely to continue taking those medications. This could severely worsen their mental health issues. 

If you or someone you know has an addiction and/or mental health disorder, don’t internalize the perceived stigma. Don’t consider yourself a deviant or a bad person. You are worthy of recovery and living a good life. The recovery process takes time. However, you can ask for help and get into a treatment program such as the one here at ARIA FL. Then, you can finally start to see your life turn around and head in the right direction. 

Fighting Against Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Stigma

There are people with mental health and substance use disorder issues that say they are stigmatized by loved ones, friends, general public, local community members and healthcare providers. No matter what situation you are in, it isn’t okay to judge, devalue or talk down to those who are experiencing a mental health crisis and/or addiction. 

Do you know someone who is dealing with these issues? If so, the best thing you can do is to encourage them to get addiction help and start their journey into recovery. It is vital that you help to reduce the stigmatization surrounding mental health and substance use disorder issues. Whether that is through educating the people around you, helping those who have these issues without judging them or being empathetic toward those who are struggling, you can help make things better. 

Start Destigmatizing Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Issues Today

Have you been stigmatizing mental health and substance use disorder issues? If so, don’t let this continue any longer. You can be a part of the solution, instead of the problem. 

Contact us today, here at ARIA FL. That way, you can get mental health and substance use disorder help for yourself or a loved one. 

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