A recent study assessing Perceived Discrimination in Addiction Recovery found that even after recovering from a substance abuse problem, adults in recovery report experiencing minor and major forms of discrimination. These experiences cause stress, leading to decreases in the quality of life and resources that are vital for sustaining recovery.

The Study

This study is the first to examine the prevalence and types of discrimination experienced by those who report they resolved a drug or alcohol problem and are actively in recovery. The researchers surveyed over 2,000 US adults by asking questions related to experiences of minor and major discrimination.

Minor discrimination forms include personal slights from other people, such as:

  • Assuming that they are likely to relapse
  • Saying that they looked like an alcoholic or drug addict

Major types of discrimination experienced by those in recovery include violation of personal rights, such as:

  • Losing one’s job, or being denied of having one
  • Being denied a loan or housing
  • Being denied the right to vote
  • Refusal by insurance companies

The study found that almost 50% of those surveyed reported that others assumed they would relapse. Nearly 40% of those surveyed reported feeling held at a higher standard than others. Almost 20% reported feeling mistreated by police.

Furthermore, over 16% said they were denied employment, over 11% denied medical insurance coverage, over 9% denied housing, and almost 8% denied their right to vote. All of this was because someone knew about their history with substance use disorders involving drugs and alcohol.

These findings can positively impact substance use disorder treatment and social programs. Understanding discrimination and difficulties that those in recovery face helps to enact change where it is necessary for policy and on social levels. Available support and helpful resources are essential for successful and sustained recovery.

Looking for Help?

Struggling with addiction and/or recovery is hard enough on its own. Dealing with discrimination adds to that struggle. Attempts to avoid discrimination can often prevent people from admitting dependence, seeking treatment, and maintaining recovery. The negative effects that discrimination has on those in active recovery are incredibly detrimental. Choosing recovery and working to create a new life are courageous acts that should not be made more difficult by discrimination. Having access to health care, housing, and social support are imperative to achieving and sustaining recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

At Fort Behavioral Health, we understand the feelings of defeat that can come from discrimination. We work hard to support everyone that comes through our doors as they navigate the challenges faced upon choosing recovery. Our approach to the treatment of addiction is individualized, working to address the core issues from which addiction stems. We are committed to supporting you on your recovery journey. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, call us today at  844.332.1807.


Get Help Today!

You don’t have to face the journey of recovery by yourself. There are people out there ready to help with what you’re going through. Reach out to someone for support today.

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