Overcoming addiction stigma is hard. The same goes for overcoming mental health stigma. If you or a loved one have struggled in these ways, you understand the challenge—there is a constant fight, on the inside and out. The world and even your family may not understand your problems. What makes it worse is that problems can affect each other.
People struggling with mental health issues may seem off-kilter. Addiction can make typical life functioning harder. As a result, stigma develops. The only way to move beyond these troubles is to take small steps every day—however, one thing that holds many back is the stigma. Call 208.486.0130 to speak with someone from the knowledgeable team at Northpoint Recovery about our addiction and mental health treatment options and how we can help you or your loved one move past addiction and mental health stigmas.
What Is Stigma?
Stigma reflects how we think and feel about something. It is what people think about someone when associated with something viewed as immoral. Here are some examples of stigma you may observe in others—and even in yourself:
- Stigma is flinching when passing a homeless person.
- Stigma is judging someone in pain because they don’t handle it well.
- Stigma comes in the form of dirty looks.
Stigma always feels worse than it is. Like many monsters, it comes from a place of weakness. Many people who judge those struggling with addiction and other mental health issues are afraid. They do not understand or decide not to work to do so.
5 Ways to Overcome Addiction and Mental Health Stigmas
Addiction, for many, is like a dark tunnel. Whether alcohol addiction or narcotic addiction, it’s the same. There is a way out, but many never see it. The darkness can represent pain, stress, and some other things. For most, it means negativity. It keeps many blind to what they can do to change.
1. Embrace Positivity
Removing negativity means embracing being positive. Positivity isn’t smiling all of the time. It does not mean that sometimes things will get under your skin. It means looking past mean comments and not reacting to the bad. It’s easy to embrace it as a way to overcome stigma, which is why it’s often the best way to start.
2. Educate Yourself and Others
Gain knowledge about addiction and mental health issues from reliable sources such as Northpoint Recovery. Then use that knowledge to inform others and help them understand the truth behind these conditions.
3. Advocate for Yourself
The various ways stigma impacts us are all different. Some choose not to try and remain stuck. It’s up to you to decide how you want to proceed. In the end, you have to do something. Making mistakes is okay. What isn’t okay is choosing to do nothing because you are afraid. The most potent stigma that limits those struggling with addiction and mental health conditions is that you can’t change. It’s not true, and the best way to change minds is to demonstrate what addiction and mental health recovery look like. The best thing to do is set weekly goals for how you want to get over something limiting you.
4. Take Care of Your Physical Health
Caring for your physical health is essential for addiction and mental health treatment. Exercise, eat well, get plenty of rest, and practice self-care. All these things can help you feel better about yourself and more able to take on addiction and mental health stigmas head-on.
5. Forgive Yourself and Others
Dealing with mental health assumptions means being open. It can be challenging because of the harsh assumptions. The questions you may be asked can feel demeaning. They can range from awkward to hurtful. Many people need to put things in a relatable way. Ignorant people will make comparisons based on what they know.