PsyPost - Public feels more negative toward drug addicts than mentally ill


People are significantly more likely to have negative attitudes toward those suffering from drug addiction than those with mental illness, and don’t support insurance, housing, and employment policies that benefit those dependent on drugs, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.

A report on the findings, which appears in the October issue of the journal Psychiatric Services, suggests that society seems not to know whether to regard substance abuse as a treatable medical condition akin to diabetes or heart disease, or as a personal failing to be overcome.

“While drug addiction and mental illness are both chronic, treatable health conditions, the American public is more likely to think of addiction as a moral failing than a medical condition,” says study leader Colleen L. Barry, PhD, MPP, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “In recent years, it has become more socially acceptable to talk publicly about one’s struggles with mental illness. But with addiction, the feeling is that the addict is a bad or weak person, especially because much drug use is illegal.”

I know that addiction is a disease, but sometimes I can’t help thinking that addicts make choices - there is no choosing when it comes to being diagnosed with a mental illness.
I did not have a choice in my life - there is no free will involved when it comes to being afflicted with a mental illness.

I think that the many people feel that addicts did this to themselves - which is not entirely true

Interesting. Ive always wondered if drug addicts were more popular than scizophrenics with the general public. However I dont believe that drug addiction as well as gambling and other vices are diseases, any more than men with high testosterone are destined to be aggresive. It increases the risk but there is not a causal connection between genes for addiction and behaviour.

Personally I see drug addiction as both a personal failing and an illness. It started with weakness to use the drug in the first place which had zero control over the person before they used it. So they had a choice in using.

So now, the drug controls the person, making them use more and more. So their choices are taken from them as they become dependent on it, making it become an illness.

So a drug addict is a person who simply made a bad choice that cascaded into an illness.

Yes once your addicted you body needs the drug, so your psycically dependent. Still I normally connect the word ilness with something like malaria or similar diseases.