The Importance of Protecting Anonymity During Treatment for Alcoholism and Other Addictions
Despite the fact that alcoholism and other addictive disorders are not uncommon, there is still a stigma associated with addictive disorders. This stigma often leads to feelings of shame and embarrassment among people who suffer from alcoholism and substance abuse disorders.
The actual or perceived stigma associated with addictive disorders can be so pervasive that some addicts refuse to seek treatment altogether in an effort to avoid being labeled as an alcoholic or addict. Many people who do choose to participate in treatment do so reluctantly or hesitantly due to the fear that they will be labeled as an addict and therefore be viewed as weak or permanently damaged by family, friends, and co-workers.
Given the factors above, it is extremely important for alcohol and drug counselors to protect the confidentiality of their patients. Most people who are engaged in Alcoholics Anonymous or other type of treatment for their additions wish to remain anonymous to avoid actual or perceived persecution by others. Addicts undergoing treatment often worry that they could lose the respect of their friends, family, and co-workers if they admit that they need treatment for an alcohol or drug abuse problems. Some people even worry that they could lose their jobs if an employer discovers that they suffer from an addictive disorder.
In sum, drug and alcohol counselors bear the responsibility of maintaining the confidentiality of their patients during treatment and recovery. Treatment and recovery meetings should be held in a private setting and treatment records should be well protected. By following these steps, substance abuse counselors will help their clients remain anonymous during treatment and recovery.