Having read the research, I’m confident it’s not just a matter of decision-making, or willpower, or even depression.
Shame always plays a role. Not just the shame of discovery, but the shame of having a problem in the first place.
There’s no shortage of stories among nurses and doctors about a friend or family member who went through treatment and relapsed, perhaps many times.
Having that particular label implies– the need to make a number of important changes in lifestyle that the patient frankly doesn’t feel like making.
This is the sort of reasoning that leads unthinking legislators to chop funds for substance abuse services whenever there’s a budget shortfall on the horizon. It’s not based on return on investment from treatment, which research demonstrates is phenomenal.
The notorious revolving door wasn’t entirely due to the patient’s desire to avoid change– the hospital couldn’t get them out the front door fast enough.
It can be intimidating to look over the inventory, and think about sharing these shame-laden items with another real live person.
By examining the models through which people view and deal with addiction, we can better understand how our society reacts to its continuing presence.
Recovery-friendly communities encourage education, provide support for open communications, and reject assumptions that perpetuate stigma.