Whether or not to share your addiction history can be a tough decision. Although we’ve come a long way in reducing the stigma of substance use disorders, there’s still a long way to go. A 2018 poll found that although a slim majority of Americans now see addiction as a disease that requires treatment, a large minority still take a negative view of the issue. [http://www.apnorc.org/news-media/Pages/AP-NORC-Poll-Most-Americans-see-drug-addiction-as-a-disease.aspx] Forty-four percent said addiction is a result of poor willpower or discipline and 33 percent said it was a character flaw. Fewer than 20 percent said they would be willing to closely associate with someone with a substance use disorder. It’s no wonder then, that many people prefer to keep their addiction history private. However, there are some occasions when sharing might be a good idea.
At the doctor
Always make sure your doctor knows about your history of addiction. The opioid crisis in the U.S. has largely been attributed to a marketing push by certain pharmaceutical companies aimed at convincing doctors that opioids weren’t actually that addictive. The result was a massive increase in prescription and availability of opioid painkillers in the U.S. Opioid prescriptions have fallen sharply in the past five years, but some doctors are still prescribing opioids too liberally. [https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/physicians-writing-fewer-initial-opioid-prescriptions-some-high-risk-prescribing-persists] In addition, opioids aren’t the only addictive medications to worry about. Benzodiazepines are highly addictive and among the most prescribed drugs in the world. Be sure your doctor knows about your addiction history. Often, there are alternative ways of treatment or pain management following treatment. Since addiction is largely influenced by genes, make sure your child’s doctor is also aware there is a family history of addiction.
It can be hard to reveal the toughest part of your personal history to a new romantic interest, but most people agree it’s better to tell someone sooner rather than later. You may not want to mention it to every new person you meet, since most of these dates likely won’t go anywhere, but if you meet someone you really like, it’s best to get your addiction history out in the open. If you wait too long, it might start to seem like you were hiding it—and good relationships are built on honesty. It can be tough to bring it up when it seems like things are going well, but one of two things will happen: it will either be a deal breaker and you won’t waste any more time with someone who doesn’t accept you, or the other person will accept it and the relationship will be on a firmer foundation.
Convincing someone to get help
Finally, you might want to reveal your addiction history when it can help convince someone else to get help. There are many barriers to seeking help for addiction, including stigma, hopelessness, and denial. Sharing your own story might help you convince someone that life can get better if they ask for help.
At Fort, we offer a safe, nurturing, and healing space for men and women to find recovery from the multifaceted disease of addiction. Our team believes in inspiring each client to face their challenges, discover the root of their problems, and reclaim their lives. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call us today at 817-381-9741 or contact us through our admissions page.