Does Stigma of Addiction Still Keep People from Getting Clean and Sober?

Americans struggle with addiction every year. Estimates range around 22 million people, or nearly 10 percent of the population, struggles with addiction. Most people who struggle are not receiving necessary treatment to support their addiction. Many people associate stigma with substance abuse, while not fully understanding addiction.

Understanding Addiction

Addiction is considered a problem of self-control. People believed a person can develop addiction if they have weak moral character and an inability to control themselves. People can hide addictions and pretend like everything is under control. Doctors and scientists have studied addiction and made several conclusions. Addiction is now understood to be a ‘chronic, relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.’ while that person makes a voluntary decision to use drugs, the brain changes that occur over time challenge the person’s self-control and hamper the ability to resist impulses to use drugs. Many people still don’t fully understand what addiction is and how it works. This results in millions of people not receiving treatment they need.

Effective Addiction Treatment

Avoiding addiction treatment may be dangerous. Because addiction can cause physical and psychological harm to both the person with addiction and those around him, it is essential the person receive treatment. Addiction is a chronic disease that is treatable. It must be addressed by a healthcare professional and managed with long-term plans in mind. Some components include:

  • Customized treatment plan
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Comprehensive in scope for physical, psychological, and social needs to be met
  • Readily available
  • Last long enough to be effective
  • Medicinal therapy
  • Assess and modify treatment to ensure effectiveness

Change takes place when people realize addiction is chronic rather than just a character flaw. Society needs to fully grasp how this works so they can understand how people need addiction treatment, not to be pushed to the margins or judged harshly. The stigma of addiction can keep people from getting necessary treatment. Finding appropriate treatment for addiction and mental health issues is important to recovery.


The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Community model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Our community support provides structure while trained counselors offer life skills training and therapeutic techniques to help you move past addiction. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.