Many people in our country today are struggling with a drug addiction or alcoholism. Statistics show that only a small percentage of those with an addiction disorder actually receive the help they need. According to the NIDA, 23.5 million people aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem in 2009. Of these, only 2.6 million—11.2 percent—received treatment at a specialty facility. One reason many individuals do not seek help is the shame and embarrassment that are associated with an addiction.

There is still a social stigma of addiction surrounding substance abuse. Even with decades of campaigns to educate the public about addiction, many still do not understand it. Addiction is a disease, and it can affect individuals of any age, any socioeconomic status, in any city or town. Addiction destroys lives, as the person slowly pulls away from things that were once important in their life. Once a drug addiction or alcoholism has taken over, the addict is viewed in a different light, considered a failure by those around them.

Addiction is a Disease

While people play an active role in the beginning of an addiction, research shows that when an addiction has taken over, the person is powerless to control it, and cannot simply will themselves to be clean. In order for a person to get their life back from an addiction, they must cleanse their body and their mind from the substance.

In order for individuals to admit they have a problem and accept the help that can change their lives for the better, it is necessary to do away with the stigma of addiction. Too many people today are afraid of what admitting to an addiction will do to their reputation, their career, and their relationships.

The fact is that millions of Americans are currently struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. These individuals are successful business men and women; they are mothers and fathers, grandparents, teachers, and doctors. They are just like any other American, but they have a disease that, without treatment, will consume their lives.

There is hope for individuals with addiction. Let us do away with the stigma of addiction and encourage those struggling with this disease to get help.