Mental Illness and Drug Addiction Literature Review

An assignment I have done:


Mental Illness and Drug Addiction Literature Review

The public’s misconception of people that have a mental illness has been researched and found to be underrepresented in today’s society. Anyone who seems “different” or does not act the way others do is assumed to be crazy or mentally unwell. But what is it about these people that makes them so different? Are they really far from normal? Do they not deserve the same love and support as anyone else who is dealing with a lo or going through a rough time in their lives?

Article 1

In the first article, the researcher’s objective was to identify how people react to people with a mental illness and people with a mental illness as well as a drug addiction. “In the current environment, wide- spread efforts are aimed at integrating services for treating addiction and policies supporting such treatment into the mainstream of what we now refer to as “behavioral health.” From a clinical and delivery system perspective, this approach makes sense given the sizable share of individuals with mental illness who have a co-occurring substance use disorder (3). It is unclear, however, whether this push toward integration reflects how the general public conceptualizes these conditions.” (Barry et al, 2014)

They conducted an online survey that showed Americans felt differently towards those that were experiencing a drug addiction. Respondents to the survey were also prejudiced against those who have a mental illness. The respondents were discriminatory and negative towards those who have a drug addiction, and more skeptical and opposed to treatments and policies that could help them greatly.

The conclusion was that people held more negativity towards people with a drug addiction than those with a mental illness. “Although the behavioral health field is increasingly emphasizing integration, our results suggest that it may be necessary for advocates to adopt differing approaches for advancing stigma reduction and policy goals given underlying differences in public beliefs and attitudes about drug addiction and mental illness.” (Barry et al, 2014)

Article 2

In the second article, the researcher’s objective was to explore the stigma against those with a mental illness and with a drug addiction. Mention of stereotypes was brought up as well, calling them ‘psychiatric disorders.’ Research done by previous studies showed that someone with a drug addiction was more culpable than someone with a mental illness.

The study compared those with a drug addiction, those with a mental illness and those with a physical disability. The results of the study proved that the people who had a drug addiction were considered more dangerous and unfit to be in a workplace setting than the people who suffered from a mental illness, and that those with a physical disability were seen as not as bad as those with either a drug addiction or a mental illness.

“Findings from this study also showed that the sample discriminated among psychiatric disorders; with substance addiction generally viewed worse. This suggests that anti-stigma programs should be specific by disorder. One error to avoid, however, is to improve mental illness stigma on the back of substance abuse, ‘Mental illness is not as bad as drug addiction!’ Instead, challenging stereotypes needs to be an affirmative activity, highlighting positive characteristics about mental illness or, for that matter, about substance addiction.” (Corrigan et al, 2009)

The way people treat others with a mental illness or a drug addiction is a way that should be changed. Studies are being done to evaluate the effects of this treatment on those it affects and it is not an affect that is pleasant.

Article 3

In the third article, the researcher’s objective was to look at how people are unwilling to work with, live near, or be related to someone with a mental illness or a drug addiction. They believe people with a drug addiction or a mental illness are more likely to be violent towards them and others. Although the health care for mental illness and drug addictions is not the best, people are still more open to disclosing their medical problems and asking for help and treatment.

The study was done online and looked at how willing or unwilling people were to having someone with a mental illness or drug addiction be around them. Ten ‘vignettes’ were used in this study, based on people’s social distance attitudes towards those with a mental illness or a drug addiction that were treated or untreated.

“We found significant alterations in public attitudes about mental illness and drug addiction based on exposure to short, one- or two-paragraph vignettes. This finding suggests that the type of material about mental illness and drug addiction presented to the American public – through the news media, popular media, and other sources – has important influence on public attitudes about these conditions.” (McGinty, 2015)

The results of this study were eye opening. People were ruthless in admitting their opinions of others with a mental illness or a drug addiction. They did not hesitate, which is something to be said about society and how it is evolving. Time cannot stop, but the stigma can. People can help end the stigma just as easily as they created it.


The affects of drug addiction and mental health on a human life can and have been detrimental. So many individuals are in need of assistance and support that is being denied to them. The government is not providing enough funding to help those who are suffering daily and this needs to change. The amount of money wasted on frivolous expenses made by the government could be used and directed to those who need better health care. The stigma against those with a mental illness or a drug addiction needs to end. People need to stand up and do what is right for the dignity of each human being that walks the earth.


Barry, C. L., McGinty, E. E., Pescosolido, B. A., & Goldman, H. H. (2014). Stigma, discrimination, treatment effectiveness, and policy: Public views about drug addiction and mental illness. Psychiatric Services, 65(10), 1269-1272. doi:10.1176/appi.ps.201400140

Corrigan, P. W., Kuwabara, S. A., & O’Shaughnessy, J. (2009). The public stigma of mental illness and drug addiction: Findings from a stratified random sample. Journal of Social Work, 9(2), 139-147. doi:10.1177/1468017308101818

McGinty, E. E., Goldman, H. H., Pescosolido, B., & Barry, C. L. (2015). Portraying mental illness and drug addiction as treatable health conditions: Effects of a randomized experiment on stigma and discrimination. Social Science & Medicine, 126, 73-85. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.12.010




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