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Calling Addiction a Disease Can Sometimes Hamper Recovery

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A message designed to make people with addictions “feel empowered and confident to change their behavior” is a far more effective way to get them serious about seeking treatment, a new study reports.

Drug addiction is a disease. That has long been the consensus in the medical community, and in recent decades it has filtered down to the general public.

The hope among public-health officials has been that such messaging decreases the moral stigma that traditionally surrounds addiction, and instead will inspire suffering people to stop blaming themselves and get professional help. But newly published research suggests this framework “may have unintended negative consequences.”

The results of a new study suggest that, for many people who need help, “I have a disease” translates to “There’s nothing I can do about it,” or “It’s out of my hands.”

An alternative message designed to make people with addictions “feel empowered and confident to change their behavior” is a far more effective way to get them serious about seeking treatment, reports co-author Sarah Desmarais, a North Carolina State University psychologist.

“The term ‘disease‘ implies that one’s physiology and genes are malfunctioning, and encourages the belief that addition is a fixed, unalterable aspect of the self,” Desmarais and her colleagues, led by Jeni Burnette, write in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. “Believing that addiction can, in fact, be managed is a critical first step in an individual’s interest in pursuing substance-abuse treatment.”



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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !