One of the biggest barriers to people getting help for alcohol/drug addiction is the stigma associated with the disease. 9/10 people with mental health problems have reported experiencing stigma and discrimination in their lives.
Stigma is a negative attitude imposed by society on people who it judges as not ‘normal’. It is a reaction of fear, ignorance and prejudice. Alcoholism is an illness, and it is not anyone’s fault that someone might suffer of it.
Effects of stigma around alcohol
- Secrecy: Functioning alcoholics are very common in our society, with a high representation in high-income households. Despite this, there is a stigma around what it means to be an alcoholic which make it difficult for people to associate with the illness.
- Isolation: Often to avoid confronting the issue and to avoid temptation, those surrounding the person drinking may avoid social situations
- Anger: Family, friends and work colleagues can become angry at the situation and can find it difficult to have a conversation around someone’s drinking
How to cope with the stigma of alcohol & drug addiction
Accept that your colleague has an illness, a treatable illness and it’s not their fault. Recovery from alcohol and drug addiction is possible.
Look into the support offered by your employer in their alcohol policy. It can be difficult asking for help in a situation when you are worried about the consequence. You may just find your colleague has more rights than you are aware of and your employer may even support with treatment.
Find out about a self-help group like Alcoholics Anonymous / Narcotics Anonymous in your area
We are rich in services in Scotland. Take a look at our partners or visit your local ADP site to find out about support groups near you. If the opportunity arises to talk to your colleague about help available to them you will be prepared.
Seek expert treatment
- There are many organisations that help work colleagues and employers with every aspect of alcohol and drug treatment. Get in touch to find out more
- Don’t isolate yourself
If you feel safe with your colleague, speak to them about your worries about their alcohol and drug problems. They may just be grateful that you are opening up to them and can be of great support in the recovery process.