How is shame related to addiction?
Shame is a painful feeling that many people experience at some point in their lives. It's powerful enough to make someone believe they are fundamentally bad and, perhaps, not worthy of a better life that can come with treatment and recovery.
Why Does Addiction Cause Shame?
Addiction causes harm. People experiencing addiction know this, so they feel shame for behavior associated with it. Unfortunately, our society judges those people who experience addiction harshly, compounding the shame.
Our Culture's Perspective on People with Addiction
"Addict" is a stigmatizing word frequently used in our culture to define people who experience addiction. The prejudice against these individuals is widespread. They are viewed as untrustworthy and criminal, which deepens the shame that they experience. This attitude does not recognize the potential for recovery.
Shame can create a cycle of drug use that becomes difficult to overcome. The more shame someone feels, the harder it is to avoid using a drug to escape that feeling.