Addiction is severely stigmatized around the world; stigmas surrounding addiction cause people to withhold support from those who need help and make it further difficult for those who have struggled with addiction in the past to get back on their feet. Those with addiction in our communities need love and support; this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions, but blame does not help anyone recover. In fact, stigma and blame can further cause someone to believe they will never get better or that they’re not worthy of recovery – two self-limiting beliefs that can become a component in a vicious cycle.

Hannah Pickard, a researcher in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham in the UK, has constructed a responsibility without blame framework that can help those working in healthcare and those in our communities to confront and interrogate their own attitudes and responses, so that everyone can better see how to acknowledge the responsibility that comes with addiction while avoiding stigma and blame, two factors that impede growth and recovery. The framework that Dr. Pickard suggests is based on the idea that as a society, we all, in some way, hold some responsibility for addiction. Whether it be since we haven’t supported each other as much as we should have, or we didn’t act when it was necessary, many people lean towards addictive behaviors to cope with painful feelings that have risen from childhood events or circumstances as an adult. What can we do to be more supportive?

  • If you have a loved one with an addiction and they are in recovery, don’t focus all your energy on blaming them. The pain is there, and it cannot be undone. Look towards the future and their recovery.
  • If you have a loved one who is engaging in addictive behaviors, see if they will seek help. If they won’t stage an intervention with a professional interventionist involved.
  • If you are struggling with addiction, seek out treatment for yourself. Recovery is possible, and you can get the support you need from your healthcare team at a reputable treatment center.
  • Take part in community projects and events to help support those with addictions and/or mental illnesses. Educate others to help disband harmful stigmas.

As a society, we must work together. Begin taking steps today towards helping you and your loved ones live a happier, healthier life.

Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.



Addiction and behavioral healthcare are within reach when you join us at New Vista Behavioral Health:
A far-reaching horizon and new perspective toward addiction recovery, wellness and restoration. We are a national and renowned family of treatment centers focused on distinctive patient care, evidence-based treatment modalities and unwavering compassion.

If you are ready to pursue a life committed to your health, relationships and emotional well-being, you have a team that is willing to walk alongside you and restore hope for your future. Let us help you in taking the first step in your journey to recovery.

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