How Different Cultures View Addiction and Recovery

How Different Cultures View Addiction and Recovery

People in Asia are more likely to have a holistic worldview that combines the natural and spiritual worlds into one

Cultural beliefs about substance use don’t always follow scientific evidence. Some societies value traditional beliefs about addiction to drugs like Xanax, while other societies are changing attitudes and forming new policies.

Addiction and Stigma

Drug misuse and addiction are significant issues across the world. A person with an addiction experiences problems in all aspects of his life—from trouble getting and keeping a job to serious concerns maintaining relationships and supporting family members. The National Institute on Drug Abuse researches the causes behind addiction and the best ways to treat the disease. Scientists with the NIDA know addiction is a chronic disease similar to other chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes and heart disease. The disease changes the way the brain functions and alters a person’s behavior.

In some cultures and countries, there is serious stigma associated with drug use and addiction. On the other hand some cultures have permissive attitudes toward alcohol and some drug use. The debate about whether to criminalize drug use is intense in various parts of the world although it is more common for government leaders to promote treatment for people who suffer with addiction over charging people with a crime according to a Congressional Research Services (CRS) report.

Addiction Attitudes in the Americas

Many different cultures exist in North and South America. Much of South America is controlled by drug cartels that promote crime and terrorism notes the CRS report. North America also experiences high levels of drug-related crimes. Governments in America actively support effective addiction treatment although its availability varies by area.

Culturally Hispanics/Latinos in the region may place a higher importance on spiritual beliefs and need to incorporate these beliefs into any addiction treatment for drugs like Xanax according to a cultural assessment from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). People from Latin America may be more likely to be forced into addiction by drug-based gangs or self-medicate with drugs as a response to trauma.

Addiction Attitudes in Europe

Attitudes about drug use and alcohol vary some across Europe although the area takes a more liberal attitude toward alcohol and drug use. Countries in the region are unlikely to prosecute a person for individual drug use although drug trafficking is a crime according to the CRS report. European countries are known for the highest rates of alcohol use worldwide notes the World Health Organization. Still government and public health leaders understand the serious consequences of alcoholism and drug use and work to promote various public education programs and access to effective treatment.

Addiction Attitudes in the Middle East

While all individuals have different beliefs, people in the Middle East associate drug use with a lack of self-control. People in the area may have a hard time talking about drug use and be afraid to seek treatment. Many people who practice Islam believe drug use is associated with moral behavior and believe people who use drugs are falling away from God. The Islamic religion prohibits substances that intoxicate the mind including drugs and alcohol according to Islamweb, a website that explains Islam. While not all Middle Easterners practice Islam, the region has a strong official stance against drugs and alcohol according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Addiction Attitudes in Asia

Many countries make up Asia and ideas about drug use and alcohol vary. People in Asia, however, are more likely to have a holistic worldview that combines the natural world and the spiritual world into one according to SAMHSA.

Some people in Asian cultures have a strong negative reaction to drug use for drugs like Xanax. For these people a person with an addiction is shameful to a person’s entire family and may endanger the family’s marriage and economic prospects.

Need Help Finding Culturally Sensitive Addiction Treatment

Every person responds differently to addiction treatment, but knowing how a person’s culture views addiction is still important. A person’s individual treatment plan must include him as a whole person including cultural background as well as individual characteristics. When addiction treatment providers ensure they understand the cultural beliefs a person has toward substance use, they offer a high level of care that reaches a person on all levels. Since communication is such a crucial part of addiction treatment, it’s important that a person struggling with addiction knows his cultural heritage is a big part of his story.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to drugs like Xanax, please call our toll-free helpline. Our addiction coordinators are trained to offer advice and provide guidance about the best possible treatment options. We help people overcome addictions with a philosophy that addresses the whole person including cultural needs. Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day for advice. Don’t struggle alone. Call us today.

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