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Combating Stigma

Combating Stigma refers to a mental or physical mark that is characteristic of a defect or disease that can lead to a mark of disgrace or infamy.

American Society of Addiction Medicine: Patients with Addiction Need Treatment – Not Stigma

We’ve all heard the terms, used to describe those individuals who struggle with drug addiction. These ​words are dismissive and disdainful; they reflect a moral judgment that is a relic of a bygone era when our understanding of addiction was limited, when many thought that addiction was some sort of moral failing and should be a source of shame. We need to change the national discussion. Put simply, individuals with substance use disorders are our patients who need treatment.

How Do We Stop the Social Stigma Towards Opiate Addiction?

The negative misconceptions that surround addiction, drug misuse, and the struggles of those who are dealing with it are all too common in modern day society. The stigma is so prevalent that it carries many negative consequences, especially for those who are too afraid to ask for help for fear of being damagingly labeled.

Newport Academy: Teen Mental Health Stigma and How to Fight It

Teen mental health stigma is serious. A mental health or substance use disorder is hard enough. But another layer of pain comes with mental health conditions. This is dealing with other’s reactions to them. Stigma describes the negative attitudes held by individuals and society. Stigma is felt toward those with depression, substance use disorder, and other health challenges. Researchers say that stigma around mental health is common. In addition, one study measuring attitudes toward mental illness found only 25 percent surveyed are sympathetic to mental health challenges. Hence, mental health stigma is an obstacle to increasing awareness and ensuring people get the help they need.

Reducing Mental Health Stigma in Schools

Reducing the stigma surrounding mental health in schools is important to both the students in your classroom, but also, the wider school community. This will help you to: define stigma in relation to mental health and identify action points to address stigma in your school.

SAMHSA’s The Power of Language and Portrayals: What We Hear, What We See


This series of webcasts educates the news and entertainment media about the best terminology and language to use, as well as how to accurately portray individuals with substance use disorders.

Shaming the Sick: Addiction and Stigma

The concept of stigma describes the powerful, negative perceptions commonly associated with substance abuse and addiction. Stigma has the potential to negatively affect a person’s self-esteem, damage relationships with loved ones, and prevent those suffering from addiction from accessing treatment. Stigma is a public health issue — it contributes to high rates of death, incarceration, and mental health concerns among dependent populations.

Shatter the Stigma, Mend the Mind

Pathstone Mental Health, as the only accredited primary provider of children’s mental health, recognized and then committed to ending the devastation stigma has for those with mental health challenges. It is well known that individuals who experience mental illness often face stigma in their daily lives. Stigma marks someone as different from others; some people with mental health issues feel disenfranchised and marginalized.

Smashing the Stigma of Addiction

Stigma is defined in the dictionary as “a mark of disgrace or infamy.” The stigma of addiction—the mark of disgrace or infamy associated with the disease—stems from behavioral symptoms and aspects of substance use disorder. For example, symptoms of alcohol and other drug addiction, such as impaired judgment or erratic behavior, can result in negative consequences including legal, occupational and relationship problems. Understandably, these kinds of consequences cause embarrassment and shame among those afflicted and affected.

Stigma of Addiction

Many people believe that addiction is a moral problem and that people with substance use disorders choose to continue using drugs. Unlike people with other chronic health conditions, those in recovery from addiction are blamed for their problems. This stigma creates shame, guilt and fear, which prevent millions of people from getting the treatment they need to recover.