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Substance Use in the Media

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Alcohol and drug use has a complicated relationship with music, television, and movies. While addiction is generally thought of as deviant and culturally unacceptable, pop culture would suggest that substance use is necessary to live a glamorous lifestyle. Additionally, drugs and alcohol use in juxtaposition with some demographics has an entirely different association than with others. Poor people, for example, are often shown in television shows using drugs to signify that they are morally corrupt, while rich people are shown using drugs as a status symbol. Both depictions of substance abuse are problematic and don’t represent an accurate picture of addiction.

Different Perceptions of Substance Use

Music often glamorizes and romanticizes drug and alcohol use by mentioning substances as a staple of love, sex, and partying. Meanwhile, visual media uses drugs and alcohol to build characters and control the audience’s reception. White, middle and upper-class characters in movies and television shows are often shown using or distributing drugs and alcohol to make them seem more appealing to the audience. In this way, drugs and alcohol are not only used to make a character seem glamorous, but also to make them seem relatable or sympathetic. However, minority characters and those on the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder are frequently dehumanized by the use of drugs and alcohol in the media, and forced to conform to addiction stereotypes.

Accurate Representation

The inaccurate depictions of drug and alcohol use in the media perpetuate a stigma that ultimately harms those with addictions. Many people continue to be extremely misinformed about addiction and mental health due to common media representations that seep into the collective subconscious of the public and shape the way we perceive the world. Dismantling these inaccuracies and representing addiction in more honest and accurate ways will help people with addictions and their loved ones to feel more comfortable talking about and seeking help for their disorders.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for help. At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals who understand addiction in all its forms. The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan. We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us today at 844-413-2690.