Stigma Kills

Dr. Richard G. Soper Addiction Psychiatrist Nashville, TN

Dr. Richard Soper is an Addiction Psychiatrist practicing in Nashville, TN. Dr. Soper evaluates, diagnoses, and treats people who suffer from impulse control conditions related to addiction. As an Addiction Psychiatrist, Dr. Soper is a substance abuse expert, and is trained to fully understand the biological science... more

Why do families have to wait until their husbands, brothers, sons, or fathers die before they can talk about the disease that killed them? This past November, The National Academy of Sciences released the study “Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century”, which was co-authored by one of the recent winners of the Nobel prize in economics. The study discusses the causes of premature death for middle aged men, but it also failed to mention the stigma associated with the diseases that actually killed them.  

Dismissive and disdainful terms continue to be used to refer to individuals who have an addiction to alcohol or drugs. These terms reflect a moral judgment that is a relic of a bygone era, when many thought that addiction was a moral failing and a source of shame. Today we know that addiction is a chronic brain disease and there are effective evidence based treatments that we can use to treat it in the best way we can. 

We need to change the national discussion and reduce the stigma at all levels to assure access to treatment for men and women of all ages, socioeconomic status and race. To put it simply, individuals with addiction involving alcohol or drugs are our patients, friends and family members who need and deserve treatment.

About Richard G. Soper, MD, JD, MS, FABAM, DFASAM

Dr. Richard Soper is an Addiction Psychiatrist practicing in Nashville, TN. Dr. Soper evaluates, diagnoses, and treats people who suffer from impulse control conditions related to addiction. As an Addiction Psychiatrist, Dr. Soper is a substance abuse expert, and is trained to fully understand the biological science behind addiction, in order to properly treat each patient.