There is a long standing stigma around addiction that carries with it a lot of negative attitudes and feelings toward the disease. Shame, self-doubt and alienation are among the reactions and feelings of those who live with addiction and those who observe it. Common beliefs even 60 years after addiction has been medically treated as an illness continue to permeate through any discussions on the topic, reducing the dialogue in public spaces to largely include blaming the addict for their condition regardless of their history, personality, accomplishments or desire to not be an addict while giving no credence to the changed physiology of the person due to addiction..

Some in the addiction treatment field believe the very treatment method inpatient recovery helps perpetuate the stigma, giving a subtle impression to the outside world that an addict must be ‘imprisoned’ for detox and inpatient therapy, that the addict is a bad person and must be secluded from the rest of the world to become ‘normal’ again. Discussions on such concerns have been stirring recently within the addiction treatment communities about how to disable and disarm the stigma surrounding treatment and patients undergoing treatment. The consensus seems to be that this kind of stigma has an overall negative net effect on treatment.

This discussion has given way to some in the medical community to be more introspective about treatment options themselves. Indra Cidambi, MD of Addiction Expert and Medical Director at Center for Network Therapy (CNT), suggests “treatment for addiction needs to be pulled forward into modernity. Like for other chronic diseases, outpatient treatment delivers better outcomes and should become the norm.” Qualifying their assertion, they added, “it was believed that once the individual addicted to drugs or alcohol learned to change his/her behavior, things would fall into place,” alluding to the perceived prison-like walling-off of addicts in a special place for treatments.

Dr. Cidambi was one of the pioneering addiction treatment practitioners to make outpatient detoxification for alcohol, benzodiazepines and opiates in New Jersey a viable option for those afflicted. “Accessing treatment while staying in real-life environments helps patients learn coping skills and work through triggers in real-time with their treatment team,” added Cidambi. “Making outpatient detoxification and allied treatment the default will help the perception that addiction is a chronic disease needing treatment interventions.”

Whether or not this view will change the industry-wide approach toward more outpatient treatments, the ideas surrounding the disease do prevent many from seeking help in the first place. The effectiveness of such an approach is still up for debate, however, but any move toward making treatment less of a choice that results in being socially shamed and closer to one of being like seeking any other medical treatment could help not only with those who have an addiction actively seek it, but could also help with long term relapse prevention success since the changed brain physiology is understood and seen as the illness it is.

Discovery InstituteAddiction treatment in New Jersey includes inpatient and outpatient treatment. Sober living in New Jersey starts with finding help at facilities like the Discovery Institute. For treatment options at one of the top rated drug rehab centers in the state, call 844-478-6563 to speak confidentially to counselor today.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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