Addiction is a compulsive need to use a substance or engage in a certain behaviour to the point where it becomes harmful. All forms of addiction have the potential to cause harm to individuals, their families and wider society. The number of drug-related deaths and deaths related to alcohol poisoning have consistently been on the rise in England and Wales over the past decade, while the societal cost of gambling related harm in the UK is estimated to be in excess of £1.27billion, suggesting that support for these problematic behaviours is not being provided to the people who need it most resulting in often fatal consequences.
Almost all of us know someone who has experienced an addiction problem, and so it is important to ensure that those experiencing addiction, whether it be drugs, alcohol, gambling, exercise, sex, gaming, or any other harmful behaviour, receive the help that they need to recover. However, there seems to be a distinct lack of empathy for those who experience addiction issues, to the extent that individuals are more fearful of the public condemnation of admitting they have an addiction problem than the harm that their addiction can cause if left untreated. But wouldn’t you also be hesitant to come forward and admit you have an issue if by doing so you would be subjected to widespread disdain and criticism?
People with mental ill health are increasingly treated with respect and considered worthy of support to help them recover. Addiction often goes hand in hand with mental health issues, and addiction itself is increasingly being considered a mental health problem of its own. So why are we, as a society, so reluctant to extend that empathy to addiction? Those with an addiction issue do not deserve to be vilified for what is essentially a mental health problem. The stigmatization of individuals with an addiction perpetuates the issue as the shame that comes with admitting to others that they have a problem and the fear of being labelled discourages them from seeking the help they need to tackle their addiction. It’s time to accept that addiction doesn’t define a person. We’re all only human and we all have the right to live in a society where our worth isn’t measured by the prejudice of others. Adferiad Recovery is committed to actively campaigning for improvements in services, legislation, system change and public opinion for the benefit of our beneficiaries and that’s why this year we are launching our “Only Human” campaign. Our “Only Human” campaign will encourage people to question what they think they know about addiction and those who experience it.
The key aims of the campaign are:
- To tackle the stigma associated with addiction. Through this campaign we hope to challenge the stereotypical image of someone with an addiction and show that people are more than their addiction and worthy of our respect and support.
- To give a voice to those with lived experience of addiction. Our campaign will be led by individuals with lived experience of addiction who each have their own unique stories to tell. The campaign will provide a platform for them to share their experience, inspire others to seek recovery and show that people with addiction don’t all fit in to the same mould.
- To celebrate and promote recovery. Recovery is a journey of self-discovery. We want to inspire those with an addiction problem to address their addiction and seek the help they need to recover. We want them to see that recovery is a positive thing and that the judgement of others shouldn’t pressure them to hide their addiction and suffer in silence.
The only Human campaign ran through 2022, to see our report on the impact of the campaign click the link below