USA Today published an article by Betty Klink entitled "Number of Older Adults Treated for Substance Abuse Doubles." In the article, an expert in substance abuse mentions the possible link between the higher statistics of those seeking treatment and the decreased stigma attached to getting professional help. Although I got sober when I was 31 and this report refers to adults 50 or older, I believe public misconception about addiction is major hurdle to recovery.
I chose to be in disguise for this website for many reasons, including the stigma of addiction. I am a working professional with a family and a four year old son who worries how unwanted public exposure might adversely affect my relationships at work and in the community. While I am proud of my efforts in recovery to stay sober and help others, I am also aware of public perception of addicts/alcoholics. It's unreasonable to expect people without addiction to understand the disease when stories about people driving drunk and killing entire familys streak the headlines.
On the other hand, shows like A&E's Intervention, educate the public on the disease of addiction and encourage individuals such as those measured in the study to pursue treatment. When I was in the height of my addiction, the internet did not exist. To get an education on my illness, I had to walk into a Barnes and Noble and purchase a book with the word addiction in its title. The stigma of addiction prevented me from doing so and thankfully today, it doesn't have to be that way.
P.S. To learn more about my experience with the stigma of addiction, watch my welcome video on the home page.