Insanity Of Addiction

Good Essays
There are few greater medical mysteries than why addicts are so often resistant to recovery, especially when reaping the negative attributes of addiction, such as physical health problems, mental health problems, and legal problems. If a physician tells someone he or she has a life-threatening illness that can be treated effectively, most everyone would eagerly pursue treatment. Not the addict. The reasons addicts give for not accepting treatment are complex and not fully understood. Here are a few of the more prominent reasons:
The Insanity of Addiction
Not surprisingly, addicts think and behave irrationally. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) uses the term insanity to describe the alcoholic’s impaired ability to think clearly and make wise choices.
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Social Stigma
Social stigma refers to a negative view held by most people towards a unique group of individuals, such as addicts. Society views addiction as a moral failing rather than an illness, further reducing the addict’s willingness to acknowledge his or her addiction and seek treatment. Seemingly, society believes it’s okay to have an illness such as diabetes, but it’s not okay to have the illness of addiction. Despite our progress in so many areas of life (such as moving forward on racial and gender equality, albeit slowly), the social stigma associated with substance abuse has barely made a dent if even a scratch. Even many physicians hold a negative view of the addict.
Excuses
Here are reasons addicts give for rejecting treatment and the opportunity for recovery. The first one is the most ingenious reason I have heard. If only that person would put his talents to better use. You may have heard one or more of these excuses yourself:
• I use drugs. That’s what addicts do.
• I don’t have an addiction, but I’ll bet you do!
• Shame!
• Everyone would know I’m an addict. The stigma is
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• I don’t have time for treatment.
• It would be a sign of weakness to get help to quit.
• I don’t know where to go to get help.
• What? A day without drugs is like a plate without food.
• I should be strong enough to do it myself.
• I believe it will get better by itself.
• Problem? What problem?
I can list more reasons addicts give for rejecting treatment, but you get the idea. Most make little sense, reflect the addict’s denial, or are just excuses (http://bit.ly/1HYI5mO).
The negative consequences of denial, social stigma, and excuses are enormous. Only 11-16 percent of addicts enter treatment (http://bit.ly/1lU5ZxU and http://bit.ly/1RnTJH2). The statistics are not any better for alcoholism (http://1.usa.gov/1S4g25v).
This represents a dismal percentage when compared to other illnesses.
BOTTOM LINE
Accept that denial, social stigma, and excuses reduce opportunities for recovery that could change lives for the better.
We still have a long way to go. In the meantime, over 50 people die every day from an opioid overdose. With that in mind, let’s look at what motivates an addict to seek treatment (Chapter 5) and ways for you to encourage an unmotivated addict to accept treatment (Chapter

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