Addiction: A Disease Delegitimized by Stigma

Professional medical associheroinations, such as the American Society of Addiction Medicine and American Medical Association, define addiction as a disease just like diabetes, cancer, or heart disease. Articulating a usable definition of what “disease” actually is can be surprisingly difficult, as notions of health vary by context. Dorland’s Medical Dictionary generally defines disease as any condition that causes pain, dysfunction, distress, social problems, or death to the person afflicted.

Dr. Thomas Britton, CEO of Gateway Foundation, wrote in his article “Releasing Stigma’s Grip” that the many facets of drugs and alcohol addiction make it a unique disease. In comparison to cancer or diabetes, addiction strongly affects spiritual and mental wellness—not just physical wellness. Dr. Britton explains that this cumulative approach generates internal battles in those inflicted and seeking help. He writes, “Many people are simply overcome with feelings of inadequacy, shame and embarrassment.”

Perhaps this is due to society’s disillusioned notions of addiction. Stereotypes of dependency disrupt society at large from truly understanding the legitimacy of the disease. Drug and alcohol abuse are commonly associated with crime, broken homes, laziness, violence, and moral failing. Dr. Britton explains that fear of judgment may prevent those suffering from seeking the treatment they need.

According to the Center of Addiction, up to 25 percent of people with substance abuse problems appear to have a chronic disorder, meaning that their disease is a long-lasting condition that can be controlled but not cured. For chronic sufferers, addiction is a progressive, relapsing disease that requires intensive treatments and continuing aftercare, monitoring, and support to manage recovery.

You may find Dr. Thomas Britton’s full article, “Releasing Stigma’s Grip,” here. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse disorder, do not let shame or judgment impede pursuit of treatment. To get your or your loved one’s life back on track, learn more about treatment options at RecoverGateway.org.

 

Gateway Names Thomas Britton as New President and CEO

Thomas P. Britton, President and CEO, Effective May 13, 2015, Gateway Treatment Centers

Thomas P. Britton, President and CEO, Effective May 13, 2015, Gateway Treatment Centers

Chicago-based Gateway Foundation, Inc. announces today that its Board of Directors named Dr. Thomas P. Britton as the company’s next President and Chief Executive Officer, effective May 13, 2015. Britton, (45) replaces outgoing President and CEO Michael J. Darcy (66), whose retirement was announced in July 2014.

“From the start, we knew finding a replacement for a CEO who had demonstrated exemplary leadership for three decades would not be an easy task,” says Glenn Baer Huebner, Chair of the Board, Gateway Foundation. “Our search was intense yet ultimately gave us the privilege of meeting a number of exceptionally talented individuals. In the end, the board concluded that Dr. Britton is the best person to propel Gateway’s strategic growth and maintain our strong reputation for delivering quality addiction treatment services in a variety of settings, thanks to his requisite drive, clinical expertise and demonstrated business acumen,” adds Huebner. Read More>

Confident in the board of director’s choice, current CEO Michael J. Darcy retiring on June 30, 2015, states, “I look forward to assisting Tom in making a successful transition into his role with Gateway. I’m confident his skillset and commitment to the field of addiction treatment will further the mission and strategic plans of Gateway Foundation.”

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For more information about Gateway Foundation, visit RecoverGateway.org.

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