Psychologists and mental health experts use the term stigma to identify the negative associations that society places upon certain groups for their appearance, behaviors, or characteristics. People who are affected by\u00a0alcohol abuse or alcoholism often experience this stigma either before or after they seek treatment. Researchers have examined the potential role of stigmas in the connection between serious alcohol problems and other mental health conditions. Read on to learn about the relationship between alcohol-related stigma and the risk of mental health problems. Lucida Treatment Center is ready to help you overcome these difficulties. Alcohol and Mental Illness People with serious alcohol-related issues make up a large percentage of Americans who suffer from mental illness. These mental illnesses can include depressive disorders, bipolar disorders (known together as mood disorders), certain anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia-related conditions. There are many overlapping factors between substance use and mental health issues. These include: \tThe desire to use alcohol or drugs to ease the effects of an existing mental illness \tThe potential ability of alcohol or drug use to trigger new symptoms of mental illness in some individuals \tThe potential for alcohol\/drug use or alcohol\/drug withdrawal to worsen relatively minor mental health issues Mental health and addiction experts use the term dual diagnosis to describe the simultaneous presence of diagnosable alcohol or drug problems and other diagnosable mental health concerns. This diagnosis typically predicts worse outcomes for both substance treatment and mental illness treatment. Alcohol-Related Stigma Stigma can occur when individuals or groups of people start attributing negative attributes to other specific individuals or groups. It can also occur when a person starts to define himself or herself according to the same sorts of negative assessments. There are a number of negative effects of stigmas. These can include: \tActs of discrimination in the workplace \tActs of discrimination in other social environments \tBullying and other violent or harassing behaviors \tLoss of the empathetic bonds that help stabilize society and human relationships \tDevelopment of feelings of inferiority that significantly limit a person\u2019s self-perceived options or life choices In the U.S. and other countries, stigma often builds up around people with serious substance issues, as well as around people affected by mental illness. Influence on People With Alcohol Use Disorder Alcohol use disorder is a diagnosis that acknowledges the overlapping effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. People who receive this diagnosis may have combined symptoms of these two problems, symptoms only related to alcohol abuse, or symptoms only related to alcoholism. Researchers have also explored the connection between stigmas and the presence of dual diagnosis for mental illness. After analyzing the data, the researchers concluded that people with alcohol use disorder fall into four separate groups. These groups are: \tIndividuals who do not have a coexisting mental illness \tThose who do not have \u201cinternalized\u201d mental illness such as an anxiety disorder or a mood disorder \tIndividuals who suffer from an \u201cexternalized\u201d mental illness such as another substance use disorder or antisocial personality disorder \tPeople who suffer from both an internalized and an externalized mental illness Additionally, researchers found that the self-reported levels of alcohol use disorder-related stigma are substantially higher in people who have symptoms of mental illness. However, they also found that the self-reported levels of stigma are not elevated in people with combined cases of internalized and externalized mental illness or in people only affected by externalized mental illness. There are two potential relationships between an increased sense of stigma related to alcohol use disorder and the presence of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, or other internalized mental illnesses. In some cases, the emotional\/psychological stress of stigma may make the appearance of such illnesses more likely. On the other hand, people already affected by an internalized mental illness may be unusually susceptible to a self-perceived sense of stigma regarding their alcohol use. How Lucida Treatment Center Can Help If you suffer from a mental illness or addiction or both, contact Lucida Treatment Center. We have addiction therapy programs\u00a0available so you can get back on the right track. Our professionals at Lucida are ready to help you. Take the first step by calling us at for more information.