Why is society so quick to judge a mental disease?

menatl health cover FINAL w photocredit 2

Graphic by Emily Rowan

According to www.merriam-webster.com, addiction is a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble). According to www.medicinenet.com, addiction is an uncontrollable craving, seeking and use of a substance such as alcohol or another drug. Dependence is such an issue with addiction that stopping is very difficult and causes severe physical and mental reactions.

So, what makes this disease so believed to be seen as failure in society? Why are these victims of the mind labeled with such harsh terms such as “junkies” or “drunks?” The stigma is alive and well, and the media’s unruly lust of celebrities and the rich and famous are only fueling the fire. Addicts are looked down upon and celebrities are hunted by paparazzi for it. There are many ways that someone may obtain the disease of addiction. Genetics plays one of the more significant roles. For example, having a family history of alcoholism can make an individual four times more likely to become an alcoholic. Over 60 percent have this history. Mental health disorders, such as anxiety or depression, early use of drugs, social environment and traumatic childhood experiences also may strengthen the chances of obtaining this disease. The stigma of this mental disease is real, and it is our job to be understanding and compassionate citizens of society to help aid the destruction of this unwanted brand.

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