Stigma and the Lack of Treatment for Substance Abuse with a Co-occurring Mental Illness

Despite the fact that in this day and age a plethora of high-quality treatment options exist for the treatment of substance abuse with a co-occurring mental illness right here in the United States, a high number of people still do not seek treatment. While there are people who have succumbed to their illness and do not pursue recovery, the majority of people who avoid it do so because of unfortunate barriers that stand in their way. The strongest of these barriers is the stigma attached to mental illness, as many people view mental illness as a plague on society and avoid confronting the issue.

Stigma takes away confidence that mental disorders are valid treatable conditions. It makes people not want to socialize or work with others who are diagnosed with mental illness even when they can be treated. Stigma may also prevent the public from wanting to pay for treatment, therefore, preventing them from accessing treatment that could change their lives for the better. 

These barriers reinforce negative thought patterns and often reinforce low self-esteem, isolation, and even hopelessness in these individuals who want to heal but may be worried about the loss of friends and jobs as a result. Most people tend to interact overcautiously with those diagnosed with mental disorders and often fear them, causing relationships to crumble. 

Stigma deprives people of their dignity and prevents them from being their best possible selves and it is one of the most important things we will need to overcome in order to create a healthier and more welcoming society. 

There are various treatment options for mental disorders nowadays. The increase of effective treatments promises to be the best answer to overcoming stigma. Effective interventions help people see that mental disorders are not flaws and shortcomings in people’s personalities and characters but actual illnesses that can be healed with the right treatment, just like how other health conditions respond to medical treatment. But support plays an important part in healing mental disorders which is even more reason to overcome stigma as a society. Whether you feel like an outcast because you suffer from a mental illness or you treat others differently because they have a mental illness, this is the time to engage in research and better education in this matter so that we as a society slowly move towards becoming part of the solution and no longer the problem. Remember, it’s a disorder, not a decision. 

We at Florida Center for Recovery provide comprehensive addiction treatment assessment to place our clients within the most appropriate treatment program which will address all of his or her issues. Our drug and alcohol rehab programs offer an individualized treatment plan to treat not only the addiction but also any related co-occurring disorder our client may have. For more information about our treatment center please contact us at: