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Why Shaming People with Addiction Doesn’t Really Work

Why Shaming People with Addiction Doesn’t Really Work

Author: Justin Mckibben

Does anyone else remember that episode in Game of Thrones when Cersei Lannister (played by the amazing Lena Headey) was marched naked through the streets of King’s Landing for the “walk of atonement”? During this public ritual punishment, the Queen Mother is followed by Septa Unella, who rings a bell to attract the attention of the crowd while repeatedly crying out “Shame!” to encourage the people to leer and jeer at Cersei.

Remember how well that worked out… for everyone… especially Septa Unella?

Well, in case you are one of those people who have never watched this show and have no clue what I’m talking about… SHAME!

But seriously, the thought of it drives home a big point about how people try to use shame and disgrace to modify the behaviors they disapprove of. People in modern times, outside of the 7 kingdoms, will say stuff like “shame on you” or “you should be ashamed of yourself” in an attempt to deter someone from doing something they do not agree with. Sometimes, with good intentions, parents use this tactic as an alternative to physical punishment. Other times people will use shame to manipulate and control others.

But does shame really work? In the case of shaming people with addiction, it doesn’t seem to go far at all.

Shame VS Guilt

One thing people first have to understand is the difference between shame and guilt. Some would say that someone who has no shame is someone who lacks humility or a conscience. People may say that if you don’t feel ashamed, you must think you are too good for others or have no consideration of others. However, that is not necessarily the case.

When someone feels guilt, that is something from within that compels us to see the fault in our own actions. Guilt is based on your own view of something you have said or done that has been harmful to others. It is the consciences way of keeping us in check. Guilt and shame are not the same thing.

Shame is how we experience the disapproval of others. It is the adverse emotional response to being singled out and judged by others for being wrong or doing wrong. So guilt tells us that we know something we are doing is wrong, but shame is the outside world telling us it is wrong even if we don’t feel that inside.

To sum it up:

Acting with clear knowledge that a behavior is unacceptable is what typically inspires feelings of guilt. Thus, it is associated with a specific behavior and is not likely associated with psychological distress such as depression.

Shame can relate specifically to one’s entire self. It says “I am wrong” instead of “my choice was wrong”. This can put people at risk of developing unhealthy conditions like:

Why Shaming Doesn’t Work

Shaming someone into changing is manipulating their fear or social isolation or criticism to control their behavior. Our connection to each other is so crucial for out well-being, both psychologically and physically, that it can often be used against us. For some people the level of social rejection from shaming will scare them into avoiding that emotional punishment. Yet there is still an issue with this method at its core.

It’s like in that movie Inception, when Leonardo DiCaprio taught us all how to dream within a dream (I’ve been watching a lot of TV lately). At one point they talk about how an idea implanted in the mind won’t take if the mind knows it wasn’t organic; if it didn’t come from within.

Shame can be like that. If you tell someone that they should be ashamed of themselves for using drugs, they might stop because they need the social connection. However, if they do not themselves see that their drug use is harming themselves and others, then shaming them will drive them into hiding to avoid persecution.

For many who suffer with substance use disorder the addiction itself has an extreme emotional attachment of some kind. If the individual is motivated enough to use drugs, or believes they are capable of control without consequence, the shame will only result in them hiding their problems even more and further isolating themselves.

Shame and Stigma and the Self

The shame of the stigma of addiction can be counterproductive to an addict getting help. Ultimately, shame can drive stigma and further damage the individual’s chances of personal development. People can internalize shame and sabotage their self-worth, which often causes people to care less about their own safety.

If their choices are being dictated by anxiety then the destructive habits can increase as the shame drives them to remove themselves from those who disapprove of them. This isn’t only true for addiction. Shame can influence other adverse actions, such as:

Shaming people with addiction or people with mental health disorders is only supporting the stigma that make them feel separated from us. Telling an addict to be ashamed of themselves for their addiction may force them to do something, but this strategy is vastly ineffective when compared to compassion and support.

Research has shown shame is especially damaging when inflicted by someone who the individual is deeply connected to. Parents, family members, spouses and loved ones who shame each other create lasting imprints on one another. That strong emotional leverage can create an even deeper divide between us and the ones we love by diminishing our self-worth.

So shaming our loved ones who struggle with addiction may be less likely to inspire them to get help and more likely to scare them away from asking us for help when they need it.

No Pain No Shame

So to clarify, shaming someone may seem like it gets the job done, but in reality it is not effective at motivating healthy behaviors. In fact, shaming someone creates social withdrawal and undermines self-esteem. For someone struggling with substance use disorder, there is probably already enough feelings of disconnect of self-defeatism without being shamed.

Again, this doesn’t mean you can’t communicate with someone about how their behavior is impacting you. Setting boundaries and being honest is still important, but doing so in a compassionate way is more conducive to encouraging someone to do the right thing for the right reasons.

If we want to avoid hurting one another, we should avoid trying to shame each other into doing what we want. Shaming people with addiction isn’t going to heal their affliction. Making them feel separate and alone will not inspire the kind of change that creates stronger bonds. Focusing on celebrating good deeds can help a lot more than dwelling on every bad one and holding it over someone’s head.

Nurturing recovery is more powerful than shaming addiction.

Having a family member who has suffered can be harder on you than you know. Too many people don’t know how to get the help they need for their loved ones, and too many of our loved ones suffer for too long because they are afraid of the affects that the ones they care about most will face. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

How Daniel Radcliffe Maintains His Sobriety

How Daniel Radcliffe Maintains His Sobriety

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

The actor most known for his role as Harry Potter has come a long way since the days of dark arts and wizardry. Daniel Radcliffe received his first role in Harry Potter at age 11. Now nearly 15 years later, the 26-year-old actor speaks out about his battle with alcoholism, being “attracted to chaos,” and how he managed to stay sober for the past three years.

Daniel Radcliffe revealed his struggles with alcoholism back in 2011. He admitted that he has struggled with alcohol for quite some time and even was drunk during the filming of some of the Harry Potter movies.  As a Harry Potter nerd, it was hard to imagine Radcliffe intoxicated in scenes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

Escaping Harry Potter

Furthermore, to escape the Potter Role and become a “real actor,” Radcliffe says he began dabbling in casual sex and whiskey.

I don’t think I was consciously trying to rebel or sabotage everything,” he said,  “It felt more like there isn’t any blueprint for how to get through this. And the reason I spoke out about it was because I felt someone else would and I should take control…which is exactly what I did.”

Radcliffe said he believed his acting and performance in the movies were subpar, due to a variety of factors including his drinking behaviors. However, he managed to stay sober for a few years before relapsing in 2012.

NYC Bar Scandal

In December of 2012, Radcliffe was allegedly booted from a bar in New York City.  Patrons witnessed Radcliffe “pounding Jagerbombs” before he ended up in an alcohol-fueled fight with the DJ.

The good news is after his brief relapse; the 26-year-old actor has now been sober for three years. In a recent interview with The Telegraph, the 26-year-old actor reflected on his battle with alcoholism.  These days, Radcliffe says he feels much more stable.

“I feel a lot more settled mentally, and am more comfortable with what makes me happy,” said Radcliffe about his life today. “More comfortable with the fact that I am a person that loves just hanging out with my friends. Or watching quiz shows. I am comfortable with the things about myself that I used to think, man, am I really boring? Should I be going out and getting wasted all the time?”

How Radcliffe Leads An Exciting Sober Life

Radcliffe is far from boring. He now enjoys leading a sober life.  He has starred in a variety of plays and has two new films this year, Now You See Me 2, and Swiss Army Man.  Although Radcliffe’s social life may differ from the habits of the average twenty-something, Radcliffe knows his old ways were “clearly not good” for him.

“I change when I’m drunk. I’m one of those people who changes,” he said.

 Behavioral change is a common symptom of alcohol dependency. These days, the actor stays sober in various ways. One of the main ones is exercising. Radcliffe said he was taking five-hour walks in the beginning whenever he had the craving to drink. Now, he sticks to running and going to the gym.

“Like the cliché of anybody who is quitting something, I really got into exercise,” he said.

The actor also enjoys reading and going to restaurants and supermarkets. He stated that he had regained his love for reading that he had lost because of his drinking behaviors.  While Radcliffe occasionally still will frequent bars and clubs, he now had limits to this kind of behavior.

“I go to restaurants. I go to the pub for a bit but then I’m like, OK, if you’re all staying and getting drunk then I’m going to go because I can’t do that,” he explained.

Exercise and Books

Exercise and reading are excellent ways to overcome any addiction. Exercise releases endorphins that help regenerate happy chemicals in the brain. Reading is a great way of entering a whole new world with different stories. Finding activities you enjoy and learning how to have fun sober is the key to having a successful recovery.

Recovery can be different at first, but it does not have to be challenging. The key is to find your interests and focus on those instead of abusing substances. However, if you are struggling, we are always here to help. Call today. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

7 Signs You’re Hiding Your Depression

7 Signs You're Hiding Your Depression

Author: Shernide Delva

Depression can occur at any time, but sometimes we choose to ignore it. Some of us would much rather fall apart on the inside, rather than admit to needing help. While you may look tough and confident on the outside, on the inside, you could be fighting an internal struggle. Even more interesting is the fact that many of us are so good at hiding our depression; we do not even realize we are really depressed. Does this sound like you?

If it does, you are not alone. You can feel secure knowing that 350 million people are affected by depression worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). That’s really sad but oddly comforting?

Regardless, there are too many people in the world who are depressed who are not getting help simply because they feel embarrassed or ashamed. Perhaps people have made you feel weak or guilty about feeling that way. We live in a world that promotes having a tough exterior over admitting to vulnerabilities. Now is the time to change those perceptions.

Knowing the signs of concealed depression is the best way to find out if you need help.  Many people, myself included, try to hide their depression and tell themselves they are over dramatic and weak. However, that is not a healthy way of coping. This list will help you understand whether or not you have a deeper issue that needs addressing. Look out for the following seven signs both in yourself, and the people you care about.


  1. You have lost interest in everything you were once passionate about.

    Many people who suffer from depression find that activities that meant the world to them at one point mean absolutely nothing to them now. For example, if you once enjoyed playing music, you may find the idea of playing an instrument exhausting and emotionally draining.  If you once were super fit and into sports, you may find the idea of going outside a bore. There is a Regina Spektor song called Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria Mori which has the lyrics:

    It’s hard, it’s hard
    To live, to live
    It’s hard, it’s harder
    Than it’s ever been before
    Things that used to comfort me
    Don’t comfort me anymore

    Essentially those lyrics describe what the feeling is like. You feel as though activities and things that once gave you pleasure no longer comfort you anymore.  If this feeling does not go away, you could be depressed. People who are depressed try to engage in things they once enjoyed in the past, however, they no longer find those activities pleasurable. If you feel this way, now is the time to get help.

  1. You’re super low energy. Everything is draining.

    One of the biggest indicators of depression is a lack of energy. Feeling depressed is very exhausting to the mind and body. In addition, your feelings of depression may affect your sleep patterns making you feel MORE  tired. Feelings of hopelessness and despair plague the mind and result in exhaustion. One way to combat this is through eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water. Try exercising, socializing and getting fresh air even when you don’t want to. Try not to over-schedule your day as that can also be overwhelming. Take it one day at a time.

  2. You’ve seen changes in your weight and eating habits.

    Are you gaining or losing weight uncontrollably? This is a common symptom of depression. Concealed depression can result in overeating or a loss of interest in food.  You may not even notice at first, but a sudden change in weight can be a major warning sign of depression. Watch out for this sign especially if you have a history of depression in your family. Weight change can be unhealthy so try not to eat (or skip meals) based on your emotions. Instead, seek help.

  3. Insomnia or Hypersomnia: You can’t sleep or you sleep too much.

    Patients who suffer from insomnia have triple the chance of developing depression. It is possible that your feelings of depression are a result of lack of sleep. Talk to a professional about tools you can use to improve your sleeping habits. While a few nights of restlessness is nothing to be alarmed about, not being able to sleep over a long period could point to more severe circumstances. If you notice this happening often, it is time to reach out for help. On the other side of the spectrum, if you find yourself oversleeping or craving sleep, you may be trying to escape your problems instead of face them. Seek help instead of ignoring the problem.

  4. Abusing Substances to “deal.”

    People often use substances to escape their mind and emotions for a short period. However, it can be easy to become addicted to substances if they provide an easy solution. Over time, this behavior can become addictive. Many addicts who abuse substances avoid admitting to their depression and instead state they are using drugs for other reasons such as to “relax” or “let loose.” If you find yourself in this situation, you are not alone. Do not feel ashamed about coming out with having a problem.

  5. You never admit when you are feeling depressed.

    People who hide their depression are experts at covering up their true feelings. Often, they feel it is a hassle to bother others about their problems. They usually feel embarrassed about feeling bad in the first place, which makes the problem worse. If you find yourself wanting to push through your depression rather than face it, take a step back. Many people who have concealed depression never reach out until it is almost too late. Do not wait to get to that point, get help now while you still can. Covering up your feelings is not worth it.

  1. You prefer to be alone than with people.

    I am naturally an introvert so find I love spending time alone, however when it becomes excessive,  it is something to think about. If you find yourself not wanting to do ANYTHING around people, you may be hiding an internal issue. People with depression tend to want to isolate themselves from others. They turn down social events in order to spend time alone in their room. If this sounds like you, you may be concealing your depression and need to reach out for help. Being around people can be a good thing if you learn how to cope.

Overall, depression is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. If you are experiencing any of the signs above, please get help. Do not let your depression result in you participating in unhealthy behaviors to cope. Seek help from a professional and find ways to move forward. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Big Pharma Bully Martin Shkreli Arrested by FBI

Big Pharma Bully Martin Shkreli Arrested by FBI

Author: Justin Mckibben

This kind of swift justice is definitely of Batman proportions. Honestly it amazes me considering we just reported recently on how Congress was setting its sights on the Big Pharma bullies like J. Michael Pearson, the CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Martin Shkreli of Turing Pharmaceuticals for their obnoxious and outrageous price gouging practices when acquiring the rights to life saving prescription drugs and then jacking up the prices.

Already, not even a month later, Martin Shkreli (aka the current Most Hated Man in America) has been arrested. And not just any old arrest for that matter… we are talking FBI arrested.

Most Hated Man

Martin Shkreli became infamous seemingly overnight after the story first hit the internet and every other media outlet to expose the Big Pharma bully for purchasing the rights to Daraprim, a medication used for treating toxoplasmosis that was 62 years old.

Toxoplasmosis is a cunning parasitic infection that often causes serious or even fatal problems for infants or people with compromised immune systems like patients battling AIDS or cancer.

So yes, he was essentially blackmailing AIDS and cancer patients.

But the guy didn’t catch heat for the way her spent his money, but more so about how he planned on making more off of the sick and suffering. Shkreli immediately hijacked the cost of the prescription drug from $13.50 per tablet to $750, translating to $22,500 for a bottle of 30 pills that used to cost $450!

Yea… he’s a real charmer.

Big Pharma Bully Gets Busted

This past Thursday Martin Shkreli was arrested by the FBI as a result of a federal investigation involving his former hedge fund and a pharmaceutical company he previously headed.

All this means the charges he has actually been brought in on so far are not connected to his work as now chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals and KaloBios Pharmaceuticals. So it truthfully has nothing to do with his price gouging for Daraprim.

Shkreli found himself in handcuffs for alleged offenses dating back to his time as manager of hedge fund MSMB Capital Management and CEO of biopharmaceutical company Retrophin. Dating back to at least January federal prosecutors in Brooklyn were investigating after Retrophin said it received a subpoena from prosecutors seeking information about its relationship with Shkreli.

In a complaint made public Thursday in regards to the arrest the SEC alleged that Shkreli engaged in “widespread fraudulent conduct” from at least October 2009 to March 2014.

The complaint specifically alleges that during that time period Shkreli:

“Made material misrepresentations and omissions to investors and prospective investors,”

Supposedly the Big Pharma tyrant had once lied to one of MSMB’s executing brokers about the firm’s ability to settle short sales Shkreli had made, and misappropriated funds. Now according to some sources the 32 year old may be expected to get charges for illegally using Retrophin assets to pay off debts after the MSMB lost millions of dollars from his fraudulent brokering.

Big Pharma Bully Losing Big Bucks

The Big Pharma company definitely did not escape unscathed, as shares of KaloBios plummeted a devastating 50% in premarket trading. In the midst of the market madness Shkreli’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding his arrest, while both Turing Pharmaceuticals and and KaloBios declined to comment.

So while Shkreli may have been banking on a big return for his Big Pharma scandal, he sure is taking some heat for how he handles his business on all fronts. With the general public pretty much in collective disgust at his strategies with Big Pharma drug pricing, and the FBI gearing up to box him in, Martin Shkreli might end up with plenty of time to reflect on his unsavory deeds.

Big Pharma as an industry should of course be held accountable for their pricing, not to mention their marketing. More experts fear this kind of price gouging will lead to even more exploitive approaches to medicine, and with prescription drugs being such an issue on so many fronts- including addiction- there needs to be checks and balances. Prescription drugs are nothing to take lightly and while many lose their lives to prescription drug abuse we should all hope for a more compassionate and responsible Big Pharma industry. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Over 75% Of High School Opioid Users Also Use Heroin

Over 75% Of High School Opioid Users Also Use Heroin

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

As we know, the opioid epidemic has spread across all communities. Furthermore, the epidemic has reached high school students and they are not just choosing painkillers or heroin to abuse, they are choosing to abuse both.

With heroin-related overdoses rapidly increasing in the United States, researchers are working to understand the reason why so many are turning to highly addictive opioids in the first place. The crisis has become so severe that even pharmacies and school nurses are carry the drug overdose antidote naloxone, or Nurcan, in stock at all times.

Recently in an article, researchers examining high school students wanted to understand fully the relationship between prescription painkillers and heroin use. In 2013, there were 16,235 deaths involving prescription opioids. That’s a 303% increase from 1999!  The CDC also estimates that there was a 39% increase in heroin use from 2012 to 2013, just one years difference. The numbers continue to rise…

Students Use Both Opioids and Heroin

This is where the research became surprising. When it comes to heroin use, typically, users start out using prescription pain killers and work their way to heroin due to it being a cheaper, more potent high. However, when high school students were analyzed, researchers found that over three-quarters of high school seniors who reported abuse of nonprescription opioids were also currently using heroin.

Researchers from the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research and the New York University Langone Medical Center, analyzed data from nationwide study study of American secondary school students. The survey examined close to 15,000 high school students in 130 public and private schools throughout 48 states in the United States between 2009 and 2013.

What they realized was, although the number of students who reported lifetime non-medical opioid or heroin use was low—12.4% for the former and 1.2% for the latter, 77% of students who reported lifetime heroin use also reported lifetime opioid use. The use of opioids increased the use of heroin and nearly a quarter of respondent who admitted using opioid more than 40 times were also regular heroin users.

Are Marijuana Campaigns to Blame?

Believe it or not, the article notes that marijuana may be the reason why students are likely to try other drugs as well. Previous campaigns and ads regarding the dangers of marijuana use were so extreme, that many high school students began to mistrust the information that was given to them. After using marijuana and realizing that it was relatively harmless, students begin to feel like other drugs may not be nearly as bad as they are made out to be.

The article includes a statement by Dr. Joseph J. Palamar, an affiliate of the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR), stated

“Teens are commonly taught that marijuana is as dangerous as heroin and then when they’re exposed to marijuana they may develop a distrust regarding all other drug information,” he said. “Teens are generally only taught how drugs are bad and there is little focus on why some people use.”

With the easy accessibility of opioids, teenagers are able to find and use the drugs simply by opening their parent’s medicine cabinet,. Once a teen loses trust in warning about street drugs, it takes little to convince them to try government-approved, pharmaceutical grade pills.

“Teens who are hooked on opioids almost always say they’ll never use heroin,” he said. “Months later after they’ve move on to heroin because they could not longer find or afford their pills, they say they’ll only sniff heroin but never inject. Next thing they know they’re injecting.”

After trying opioids, the cycle of addiction begins and eventually heroin is the next drug on the list to try. However, most teenagers know the dangers of heroin and never imagine that they would ever try the drugs themselves.

Dependence can sneak up on students as the drug use goes from recreation to necessity before they are even aware of it. It is so important to get help when any sign of addiction occurs. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Author: Shernide Delva


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