Domenica Personti, who currently works for Recovery Centers of America and has worked in addiction facilities since 1998, said that one of the most prominent stigmas that people either struggling in active addiction or in recovery have to deal with is that they’re seen as “weak.” However, Personti said that’s just not realistic.
“This is a disease that people suffer from, and when people are diagnosed with hypertension or high blood pressure, we don’t say, ‘Oh, you’re really weak, so you should just go ahead and lose those 40 pounds so that your blood pressure comes down,’ you know, we don’t do that,” Personti said. “The doctor does a treatment plan, they prescribe medication, they prescribe a healthy way of living, they prescribe diet and exercise and everyone gets behind them and says, ‘Man, we really hope that you treat that hypertension because we don’t want you to have a heart attack and die.’”
Some people’s reaction to someone who is struggling with active addiction is much less compassionate, according to Personti.
“When an individual is diagnosed with a substance use disorder, we say, ‘Just stop using drugs, just stop, stop all the things that you’ve done and all the pain that you’re trying to quell, just stop doing that, and your life will get better,’” Personti said.
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