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The Dangers of Treating Addicts like Second Rate Citizens

A common occurrence in the addiction community is that addicts are treated like second rate citizens or that addicts are treated with a stereotype that is quite unpleasant.  A lot of times, addicts are treated like second rate citizens.  This stereotyping of addicts and treating them in this way has to end and it is this in fact that often leads to the problem of addiction.  It is incredibly detrimental.

The sad truth is that addicts earn a bad rap and earn a bad name because of all that goes into being an addict and all of the various aspects and facets that go along with it.  Drug and alcohol addicts generally speaking engage in criminal activities far more often than non-addicts do.  Addicts generally speaking break the law and cause trouble and create upsets and grievances far more often than non-addicts do.  Addicts generally speaking tend to cause turmoil and difficulties in their families that other individuals don’t create as much or as often.

But none of this means that addicts are lesser persons, or that they should not be treated with the same respect and admiration that regular human beings are treated with.  The essential truth is that addicts themselves are just regular human beings.  They were human beings long before they became addicted to drugs and alcohol, and they will continue to be human beings after they beat their addiction habits.

However, when we stereotype addicts, we allot them into a different classification of humans.  We grant them the right to be addicts by accusing them of being addicts and nothing else.  We show acceptance of their behavior by accusing them and by stereotyping them.  The classic thought process of a stereotyped addict is, “Well, this is what they think of me, so this is what I will be.”  One can see then how this stereotyping can lead to an actual continuation of the substance abuse habit.

How to Tackle the Stereotypes of Addiction

Drug and alcohol addiction is a dangerous and concerning thing that causes troubles left and right for those who fall under the trapping claws that is addiction.  These stereotypes are quite dangerous, but they can be addressed, and they can be avoided too.  Here are some tips in this direction:

  1. Do not allow yourself to cut any slack to an addict or assign excessive blame to an addict just because they are an addict.  You must focus on treating addicts the same no matter what.  Apply the same judgment to an addict that you would to another person who was not abusing drugs and alcohol.
  2. Focus more on helping the person as opposed to stereotyping them.  Focus more on giving them assistance as pertains to getting them into treatment.  Do not enable them or make excuses for their behavior, but in the same token do not allow them to simply continue on endlessly abusing drugs and alcohol.
  3. Treat an addict like a human being with a disease that needs to be cured.  Keep in mind that a drug or alcohol addiction is not a choice by any means at all.  However, it can be cured.  Focus on getting the addict to address their addiction, but do not treat them like a lesser human being in doing so.
  4. People will act how they are treated.  If a person is treated like a criminal, they will be a criminal.  If they are treated like an addict, they will be an addict.  Instead, treat them like a human being with a horrific disease, and go from there.
  5. Seek to impress the same thought processes onto others.  An addict values greatly the opinions of those around him or her.  Make sure that the other people in an addict’s life also know to not stereotype the addict in any way.

It is not always easy to try to help addicts.  Even simply being connected to them in any way can be quite trying indeed.  Apply some of the above tips and suggestions and you will have a better time of helping them address their problems and actually getting them to resolve their issues.

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