What a Drug Addict Looks Like

There are a number of myths surrounding drug addiction and drug addicts. Television and movies go a long way toward perpetuating these myths and those who actually do personify them tend to solidify the stereotypes in the popular imagination. The result is a stigma that keeps many from admitting that they have a problem with drugs and alcohol and many of those who do admit it refuse to get the treatment they need.

Drug Addicts: The Stereotype Is Wrong

The truth is that drug addicts come in all shapes and sizes. It’s not just the crack addict in the alley in a bad part of town. Drug addicts are also the alcoholics who wear suits and successfully function as executives in the corporate world. They may be the very people who dispense and prescribe your prescription painkillers, the ones wearing the white coats. They could be the stay at home mother or father driving the kids to school and baseball practice. They could be the elderly neighbor or the local teen beauty pageant contestant or your kid’s teacher. The stereotype of who or what a drug addict is could not be more wrong.

Drug Addict and Addiction Stereotypes: How They Hurt The Addict

It’s difficult to look at the bedraggled and desperate stereotype that we’ve chosen for drug addicts and stand up and say, “Yup! That’s me!” For professionals, executives, parents and those in public or healthcare professions it is especially difficult to claim that title and get the necessary drug addiction treatment without suffering a great many life changing repercussions. Certainly, those repercussions may not be avoided simply by avoiding treatment; in fact, not getting medical treatment ultimately ends up harming even more people and causing more permanent damage for the addict’s life and reputation. That’s the point: the stereotype can perpetuate the behavior unnecessarily as the addict holds onto the illusion that he or she can keep people from finding out by trying to quit alone.

Drug Addiction Stereotypes: How They Hurt Everyone

Clearly the consequences of addiction reach far beyond the personal life of the drug addict. Everyone on the road including pedestrians are put at risk when so-called “functional” addicts who pass for “normal” get behind the wheel while under the influence. The costs to the economy of fraud and other bad decisions of high ranking corporate and political executives under the influence are in evidence every day. Perpetuating stereotypes and demonizing those who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction make this particular bigotry dangerous and costly to everyone.

If you or someone you love is addicted to drugs and/ or alcohol, don’t let the stereotypes and stigma keep you from getting the medical drug detox and rehab that you need. Contact The Canyon for more information about executive drug and alcohol rehab.

Wendy Lee Nentwig

By Wendy Lee Nentwig
Guest Contributor

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