Therapy Tuesday (Episode 9) - Addiction

A fortnightly podcast for people looking to have conversations about mental health from a feminist perspective.

Addiction- that's our focus for this episode- the stigma attached to substance use and how we need to approach it with increased sensitivity. Substance use is often considered as a disordered behavior and the medical model has gone as far to describe it as an illness of the brain. There are multiple factors that cause vulnerability to addiction, like a family history of substance use, trauma, social environments that encourage peer drug use, and physical illness that involves the consumption of prescription drugs with addictive properties. Substance dependency also exists because the substances become accessible coping tools for the person struggling, with some substances carrying more stigma and shame than others. In collectivistic societies and cultures, the familial shame associated with anyone struggling to battle mental illness or addiction is big. Given how there can be very serious consequences for loved ones of those with addiction, unlearning shame and stigma is difficult, which is why language is important in how we communicate to and about someone struggling with addiction. Substance use is a complex, systemic issue and the more we stop demonizing those suffering, the more collaborative we can be in combating the problem.