There are a host of problems that addicts often have to deal with after rehab. These issues may begin during treatment when an individual’s working week is disrupted and it becomes a challenge balancing both treatment and work. Even before rehab, many people have to deal with challenges concerning employment, education and housing, amongst other social needs. There’s also the possibility of having a poorly developed family and social network, which will only add to the exclusion an individual might feel.

Beyond the psychosocial and pharmacological outcomes, more must be achieved with the rehabilitation of drug addicts. Social integration refers to social interventions aimed at reintegrating people who used to (or still do) abuse drugs. The topic of social integration cannot be fully discussed without referring to the three ‘pillars’ of the subject matter: employment, education and housing.

After rehab, the former drug user is likely to find that there’s a stigma associated with their previous addiction. If a criminal record is part of the picture, it could be increasingly difficulty to find and hold down a job. Furthermore, the situation could worsen if the individual has lost their rented accommodation whilst in prison.

An employer may be reluctant to retain a former drug user, because they believe that person could pose a problem; might have been disengaged from education; or been away from the job market so long that they don’t possess the necessary skills. Given how important employment is for social integration, it is crucial to implement measures that can help improve employability and overcome both structural and personal barriers to obtaining employment.

What should social reintegration entail?

We tend to focus on the relationship between a person and substance abuse, which is why rehab is so important. However, it’s easy to forget the individual’s position in wider society, which is what social reintegration is primarily concerned with.

Although we might like societal reintegration to be a simple and straightforward matter, it can in fact be complex. For instance, as important as employment is, the ability to find and retain a job is not the same as being successfully integrated into society. There are other aspects of life besides work which are equally important, including the ability to be free from any form of discrimination and stigma; the ability to have healthy relationships with significant others; and being able to maintain supportive networks.

There are various approaches to social reintegration that can be adapted after rehab. They should be applied as needed for individuals in whatever combinations are appropriate. These different approaches include drug treatment, vocational rehabilitation, advocacy, general policy, employment support, education and training, housing support and criminal justice interventions. When applied correctly, social reintegration can improve the chances of successful recovery after treatment in a rehab centre. If you are looking for a rehab centre in the Florida area, please have a look here.

Dealing with stigma

Stigma refers to a set of negative beliefs which society holds about certain people. Not only does it contribute to human rights abuse, but it is a major cause of exclusion and discrimination. Having gone through treatment for addiction, this could put you in a position where you’re forced to bear stigma due to your history with certain substances.

It’s nearly impossible to hide or ignore stigma, because people naturally can’t mask it. If there is a silver lining, it’s that the effects can be reduced or prevented through education, since stigma is based on generalisations, preconceptions and assumptions, rather than facts.

Sadly, it is not only society that can perpetuate stigma, but an individual’s own family and friends as well. Many people simply don’t understand what addiction involves and wrongly believe it to be a moral issue, which affects drug users because they choose to keep abusing addictive substances. While people would most likely not blame someone for having cancer, they would blame someone else for their addiction.

Many people don’t realise, but stigma is a major obstacle to an effective mental health system. In fact, it is one of the major reasons many people avoid getting the treatment they need. Even after a former drug user has been successfully treated, it can pose a serious problem for social reintegration.

It won’t be easy to reduce stigma, because prejudice and misconceptions surrounding addiction have been endorsed by authoritative sources for decades. However, strategies like making contact with mental health consumers – and also providing education – can help reduce stigma.






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