Stigmatized Brain Health Conditions
Updated: May 12
You know Uncle Joe.
“Uncle Joe” is an out-of-control alcoholic/addict who doesn’t work, doesn’t pay his bills, spends what money he gets on booze, neglects his wife and children, and is an all-around blight on the community. He doesn’t care about the consequences; he just keeps on drinking.
Or, perhaps your Uncle Joe is dressed in a suit each day. He goes to work and pays the bills, but when out of the public eye, he succumbs to the need to drink or drug, and his family pays the ultimate emotional price for his “indulgences.” Finally, without help, this “Uncle Joe’s” house of cards collapses into its inevitable conclusion. Tragic but true.
Guys like Joe are seen as people who are unlovable, immoral, worthless, usually unemployed, and sometimes criminals. They just don’t get “it.”
But is it them or us that just don’t get it?
The real fact about Uncle Joe is he can’t stop drinking or drugging. He has no choice. He is trapped in a physical and mental dilemma over which he has zero control.
They have a severe brain disorder, a chronic condition of a diseased brain that often results in relapses. Addictions are stigmatized to the point they are unrecognizable for what they are.
We think the “Joes” are the ones who choose to drink and drug to excess. All too often, people do not realize they have to use to survive, to live, albeit miserably. They don’t have a choice because the pain is too great to bear, and they self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, illicit and otherwise, to mask the mental and emotional trauma they experience. It’s a downward spiraling vortex.
It’s expensive stigmatization, too. Excessive alcohol use alone costs the U.S. taxpayer an estimated $249 billion each year. That is $2.05 per drink. Yet it is treated vastly different from other deadly diseases like cancer.
There are no well-publicisized marathons to raise money for treating alcoholism or drug addiction, no celebrities telling you on TV that just $.63 per day will keep the “Uncle Joes” out of the drunk tank. And a picture of a drunk in the street isn’t as appealing as a pup needing a home when it comes time to raise either awareness or money to help.
Addiction is a brain disease and a mental health issue that is stigmatized to the point of being discredited as a serious public health problem. We must get over this stigma before we have a hope of defeating the disease.
At Another Solution, We Know Recovery
At Another Solution, we know recovery. We are not a treatment facility. We are a non-profit offering financial assistance to those suffering from grave substance abuse disorders without the ability to pay for help. These disorders are often combined with and exacerbated by comorbid mental conditions like depression, anxiety, or bipolarism.
We acknowledge these as health issues and attack the active disease using multi-modular evaluations. We match the person’s needs with the best-of-the-best treatment facilities specializing in meeting their needs.
Help Us De-Stigmatize
“Uncle Joe” did not ask to have the disease of addiction any more than you, or someone you know asked to get cancer or diabetes. Help us advocate for open dialogue and recognize this as a disease of the brain, not a moral failing.
Help us all strive to acknowledge that the proper treatment for these conditions is a scientific endeavor advanced by brain research and not some shot-in-the-dark stab at straightening-out a seemingly hopeless member of a not so special fraternity known as a “drunk.”
For all our good, let’s work on this together.