Addiction is an insidious mental illness that has no known cure. But, it can be treated and kept at bay through a program of spiritual maintenance. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) accepts substance abuse as a mental health disorder. Unfortunately, many Americans look at addiction differently than other health conditions that are incurable. The reasons for the disparity in perception are varied. Yet, the effect that stigma has on the afflicted is huge.

One of the biggest deterrents people face regarding getting help for addiction is the social stigma of the disease. Like most things that are not well understood, people draw their own conclusions, often based on fear. For time immemorial people have looked at those who drink or drug in excess as being weak-willed or lacking moral fiber. Saying to themselves, ‘why don’t they just stop?’ To which an alcoholic would counter, “would that it were so simple.”

It has only been in the last hundred years of human history, that successful recovery has become a reality for individuals. In turn, it is the first century that the general public has realized that there is truth to the idea that addiction is not a question of willpower. That with compassion and support, rather than spurn and scorn, people can be encouraged to seek a new path.

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Using Art to Address Stigma

At Immersion Recovery Center, we are committed to the mission of ending the stigma that prevents people from seeking treatment. We seek to have a hand in changing the discussion about what addiction is. And, to enlighten the public on the fact that use disorders are treatable. Amid an opioid addiction epidemic, the need has never been greater. When stigma prevents people from accessing treatment, people die.

In recent years, you may have noticed that television and film have focused more on addiction. And all things mental health, for that matter. While some of it does little good, others have shown that media outlets can be a great way to shine the light on the disease. Art is meant to open people’s eyes, forcing the onlooker to bear witness. Mediums can help people see things in different ways. It could be a painting on the wall or something seen on the silver screen.

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Manny Mendez and Vic James are two people working programs of recovery, who hope to put a stop to stigma through art. Over the last few years, the duo has shared their views on both addiction and recovery through art, PR Web reports. They produce the Art of Recovery Exhibit. This year Mendez and James are bringing film into the picture, with the first annual Art of Recovery Film Festival, July 7-9th in Lake Worth, Florida at the Stonzek Theater.

For more information on the festival, please click here.

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If you are in recovery and can attend the event, that is great. Everyone in the program can have a hand in showing others that recovery is possible. Ending the stigma of addiction falls on everyone in the community to help debunk the stereotypes of addiction. The more compassionate people are about addiction, the more likely the afflicted will seek help.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact Immersion Recovery Center today. We can help.


Reviewed for accuracy by :

Serving as the Inpatient Clinical Director at Immersion Recovery Center, Susan will work directly with staff members, clients, and family members to ensure the clinical program remains as effective and individualized as possible. Susan is no stranger to the fields of behavioral health and addiction. She has over 25 years of experience, working in an inpatient setting, an outpatient setting, acute stabilization and nearly all other settings in the realm of addiction recovery.

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