Jan. 4, 2022 – The consequences of stigmatizing people with these diseases can be severe. People who face public stigma are less likely to seek treatment, see reduced career opportunities and can receive lower quality of care than the general population. Judgment from others also leads people with addiction to look down upon and even apply stereotypes to themselves – a process known as self-stigma.

“Self-stigma is defined as internalized stigma,” DePue said. “When we have any type of attribute, identity or characteristic that places us into a stereotypical group, or rather, a group with associated stereotypes, we know that. We know we’re a part of this marginalized group. We know we have an identity that is seen as negative or flawed by others. Then we internalize that.”

DePue found that the experiment’s subjects were far more likely to stigmatize people who were diagnosed with both Major Depressive Disorder and Opioid Use Disorder as well as those with a criminal justice history. However, DePue’s experiment didn’t find a significant difference in stigma against individuals with Major Depressive Disorder and Opioid Use Disorder and individuals who had those same two illnesses combined with a criminal justice history.


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