Stigma and Dis-ease

The issue of Alcoholism has come very much to the fore, in the UK, with events surrounding Charles Kennedy (leader of the Liberal Democrats). I have no intention of pontificating on whether it is appropriate to have an alcoholic leading a major political party, or whether or not alcoholism is an incurable illness (the AA line) or self-harming behaviour.

 

As I’ve mentioned before, I have friends who have found themselves in very difficult situations as a result of alcoholism, despite their attempts to quit drinking. Whether one takes the AA line or the “self-harming behaviour” stance, the stigma attached to the condition is a major obstacle to recovery, indeed it may well prevent the sufferer acknowledging their problem. Whether one is “an alcoholic” or a “self-harmer” they are still ill. Why do we find it so difficult to sympathize with these sufferers, whilst our hearts and compassion would go out to those who suffer from a multitude of other illnesses?

 

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