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Understanding Stigma

Stigma Defined: “A mark of disgrace that sets a person apart. When a person is labeled by their illness they are seen as part of a stereotyped group. Negative attitudes create prejudice which leads to negative actions and discrimination. Families are also affected by stigma, leading to a lack of support.”

Stigma is when someone is perceived as being different because of an illness. It can take many forms from being very blatant with hurtful words or more subtle by being ignored or scorned at. In all cases, stigma and discrimination can undermine a person's morale, causing loss of self-confidence and self-esteem. Stigma is recognized as one of the top barriers for individuals seeking treatment for substance addiction.

Stigma brings experiences & feelings of:

  • Shame
  • Blame
  • Hopelessness
  • Distress
  • Misrepresentation in the media
  • Reluctance to seek and/or accept necessary help