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Social Stigma associated with Rehabilitation

“Recovery is not a race. You don’t have to feel guilty if it takes you longer than you thought it would.” – Unknown

Addiction of any sort is a lengthy mental battle that the mind and body endure, making it, agonizing until it is sailed through. Falling prey to addiction, suffering health deterioration, realization, recovery trials and self-motivation, all this put together, is a difficult journey that one might go through. In such chaotic times, there’s minimal support an addict may get from his social environment, leave alone the mockery, guilt and shame, which only adds to the taboo around addiction and rehabs. Road to rehab and recovery is certainly not paved with red carpet flowers, but every step taken towards it is something to be proud of.


Despite numerous educational campaigns and awareness drives to educate people on the subject, addiction and rehab are highly misunderstood and the social stigma attached to rehab doesn’t seem to lose its way. Stigma is a set of negative beliefs which can originate from any source and manifest into a mental barrier. It can be a major cause of discrimination which can lead to exclusion of individuals. Sadly, social stigma associated with addiction and rehabilitation centers prove to be quite harmful and prevents the addicts from opting for the therapies. Perceived stigma has greater social and mental impact. The mental and social health of drug addicts are likely to be affected by the stress of discrimination. They are often pushed away from the society which further drives them to an environment of isolation, instigating their downward spiral. 

Why stigma?

Addiction and rehabilitation centers have been stigmatized for many reasons, the primary reason being, most people fail to understand it and hence there’s the fear of the unknown. Let’s look at various factors contributing to stigma around addiction:


Many countries have anti-drug legislation which implies the use of drugs as immoral. Illegal drugs trafficking is seen as any other form of criminal activity such as violence, prostitution, etc. by the society. The social stigma – drug abuse is immoral and must be punished, needs to be reconsidered. Although one may try the drug for the first time at free-will, however, once the addiction kicks in, it becomes a compulsively behaviour. Study says that drug addiction changes the brain, causing cravings and compulsive behaviour. 


While an addict may cure himself of drug abuse but is prone to relapse anytime. What people fail to understand is that a person who is under recovery can have a relapse. Such relapses are often judged negatively by society. 


The stigmatizing language like drug abuser, addict, dirty, etc. does a lot of harm to the addicts’ social environment and behaviour. Such language instils a sense of guilt and shame in the person, leading to his seclusion. 

Many with drug abuse problems are purely functional members of society – they are coworkers, parents, neighbours and friends. But society classifies addiction as a moral problem. This creates shame, guilt and fear that prevents billions of people from taking up necessary treatment under a proper rehab center. Perceived stigma about losing social status upon visiting a rehabilitation center causes fear that stops them from taking the road to recovery. Many still reject the fact that addiction is a brain disease that can be medically treated. 

It is challenging to overcome stigma and choose treatment, considering how deep-rooted it is. However, with support from loved ones and therapies at proper rehab, it is possible. Rehabilitation centers provide a positive and conducive environment to focus on holistic healing of the patients. Alpha healing Center located in Vadodara, Gujarat- India offers comprehensive treatment services, including aftercare and relapse prevention planning, to meet your needs. 


We offer services across the cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Surat, Ahmedabad, Pune. Contact our counsellor today on 1800-102-0489,  9136783804 or 7490023387 to begin your journey toward recovery!

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