Stigma of Addiction
Posted By: Clare Waismann

Chronic pain sufferers depend upon pain medications, primarily opiates, to alleviate their discomfort. Legally prescribed and taken as directed, these are important and valuable medications.

It may happen, however, that the body’s dependence upon these drugs continues after they are no longer needed for pain relief.  Sometimes the dependence is the unexpected outcome, or self-medication for relief of anxiety, stress or other emotional issues. Devoid of a prescription, the drug dependent person buys unregulated opiates of unknown quality from street level entrepreneurs.

Two common questions are: 

(1) “Why do people who suffer from opiate dependence not seek help right away?

(2) ”Why do they deny the problem, or try to hide it?”

The answers are remarkably simple.  Detoxing from opiates could be more dangerous than using opiates.  Unsupervised detox in a non-medical setting can be excruciatingly painful, lengthy and medically dangerous for some patients.  Even admitting the medical condition of opiate dependence can have immediate negative consequences. “Seeking help can mean losing a job and medical insurance,” stated noted researcher David L. Rosenbloom, Ph.D., “or even losing your child when a social service agency declares you an unfit parent because you have a drug problem.”

American’s have significant tolerance for alcoholics, but little or no sympathy for someone with the medical condition of opiate dependence.  The person who is dependent upon opiates is shamed and marginalized. According to the National Treatment Plan Initiative recently released by the U.S. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), stigma can “cause ostracism, shame, and even denial of life’s necessities, such as employment and a place to live.”

The Difference between Drug Addiction and Dependence

Opiate Dependence is a medical condition, that should be treaded by doctors.

Much of society is still in the “age of ignorance” about drug dependence and addiction. They mistakenly equate dependence with lack of morals or integrity. In truth, the person dependent upon opiates has a medical condition that must be addressed by medical means.  As with all chronic medical conditions, reading a book or attending a meeting may be emotionally supportive, but it is not medical treatment.  A true diagnosis and the appropriate medical treatment, comes from trained medical professionals.

We must recognize that drug dependence is not a weakness or character flaw. We all want to be thought of as strong and dependable. If a friend or family member is in need of medical help to overcome opioid dependence, we hope they can count upon you to be as supportive and loving as you would be if they had any other medical condition. An effective  medical treatment, and complete detoxification from opiates, is currently available and performed by trained medical professionals. The Waismann Method® has been on the forefront of medical opiate detoxification since the late 90s, in its one exclusive location, based in So. California. At the Waismann, patients safety, dignity and comfort are always a priority.

For a complete confidential consultation, call (888) 987-HOPE (4673)

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