Men and the Stigma of Addiction

The negative perception associated with having a substance misuse and/or mental health disorder has shifted somewhat during the last several decades, but the stigma still exists.1

Men face greater stigmatization over substance misuse and addiction because of societal stereotypes surrounding masculinity, long viewed as needing to be strong and confident.1 This expectation creates an unrealistic and unreasonable demand on men, making it more difficult for them to seek treatment. Because addiction or substance misuse is considered a “weakness,1” men may shy away from admitting they have a problem.

As we head into National Men’s Health Week and Father’s Day, it’s an ideal time to spread awareness about the stigma of addiction and how it impacts men.

The Stigma of Addiction

To understand why a stigma occurs, let’s look at some common characteristics that can lead to the misconception of addiction and mental health disorders. These may include:

  • A lack of education about the disease of addiction and mental illness.
  • Myths concerning addiction and mental health include the belief that people with substance use disorder lack willpower and are weak.
  • The sense of guilt and shame that surround people who have fallen into addiction, perpetuates stigma.
  • The use of stigmatizing language, including words like addict, alcoholic, and user.

Fear and shame are dispelled with proper education. In addition, using terms such as alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder help people view it as a medical condition.

Men and Addiction

According to the research, men have a higher rate than women of illicit drug use, emergency room visits, and overdose deaths.2 They also have a higher rate of all types of alcohol use, including binge drinking.2 Understanding why this higher rate for men exists may be complex, but one reason is that they don’t seek treatment as readily.2 Stigma keeps men from entering a treatment program and receiving help to achieve sobriety.1

Drug and alcohol misuse continues to affect both men and women across the country. In the Dallas area, drug addiction continues to be a problem with deadly consequences. Between 2017 and 2019, an average of nearly 13 of every 100,000 Dallas residents died of a drug overdose.4 This number is higher than average for the state of Texas as a whole.

Finding Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Once men understand that addiction and substance misuse is not a weakness or an individual’s failure, they can break through the stigma and get help. Addiction is a chronic disease that affects all types of people and is not a reflection of anyone’s strength, character, or willpower.3  Like any other disease or medical condition, treatment can subdue symptoms and help people live fulfilling lives.3 An inpatient treatment program provides people with 24/7 care in a supportive environment. This type of treatment serves as a great starting place for men dealing with a substance misuse issue.

Benefits of inpatient care can include:

  • Around-the-clock care to help with withdrawal symptoms.
  • Treatment is geared toward individuals with severe conditions involving drugs or alcohol.
  • On-hand medical professionals to make sure patients are safe.
  • Therapy that helps patients understand the causes of addiction and learn tools for overcoming triggers.
  • In some instances, medication may be given to assist with treatment.

If you are looking for drug or alcohol rehab near Dallas, Greenhouse Treatment Center is a quality substance abuse treatment center offering a range of services and levels of rehab, including inpatient residential care and medical detox. Contact an admissions navigator for more details .

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