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Health Illness and Society
Social stigma exists in multiple forms that are mostly related to the culture, ethos, plumpness, race, color, creed, gender, disease and ailments. Stigmatization can cause negative impact on the lives of individuals. They not only impact the health of the people but also affect their mental stability and state of mind. This somehow makes these sufferers feel insecure about them and transforms them into insecure individuals. They develop a feeling of insecurity and their self-esteem is negatively affected. They believe that their worth is adversely affected. Such circumstances can occur in the place of work, educational environment like schools and colleges, health care centers, and even in one's own family. People are insecure in their family settings as well. Stigma may also be labeled as a tag that links an individual to unsolicited physiognomies (Ali, 2008). In such circumstances, people start recognizing the traits that make a person stigmatized and these individuals are tagged stigmatized until the stigmatizing characteristic is covered. A significant extent of generality is essential to create groups. This basically refers to the fact that people are treated in the same manner in these groups irrespective of the fact that how fine they in reality apt into that group. Though, the characteristics that culture chooses fluctuate in accordance to time and place. What is uncommon in one culture and social setup maybe a norm or custom in the other culture and social setup? When culture classifies persons into definite groups the characterized person is uncovered to status loss and discrimination. He is protected.
Somewhat forced into such circumstances. Stigma is not merely about the culture and what people perceive about an individual. It has multiple other effects as well. It not only impacts the beliefs and thoughts of the society but also affects the behavior of individuals who are stigmatized. It leaves a deep impact on the ones who are affected in this context. Their behavior is somehow deeply affected. Those individuals who are considered and stereotyped repeatedly begin to act in ways people think of them. It not only modifies and changes their behavior and attitude, but it also natures their opinions, feelings, emotions, ideas, thoughts and views. These stigmatized individuals customarily confront bias and presumption that results in depression and despair. This stigma can have multiple negative impacts on the personality of the sufferers. For instance, it put the person in the situation where his social status and identity is threatened and he is forced to face disorders like low self-esteem. Identity threats are one of the major drawbacks of stigmas. These sufferers are treated in a way that they develop a feeling that they are being mistreated by others. They somehow start believing in the fact that discrimination exists in their surrounding and they are the victims of this situation and as a result of which stigma becomes more fearful than the condition itself. Social stigma is the great condemnation of a person on socially characteristic grounds that are professed, and aid to distinguish them, from other individuals of a society.
Social stigma can be a consequence of the perception and belief of mental stress and anxiety, physical disabilities and infirmities, illegitimacy, skin tone, race, color, creed, religion, criminality, ethnicity and nationality (Nykliek, Temoshok and Vingerhoets, 2004). The three kinds of social stigma according to Goffman include the following.
Overt or external deformations, such as scars, physical manifestations of anorexia nervosa, leprosy (leprosy stigma), or of a physical disability or social disability, such as obesity (Dipboye and Colella, 2005).
Abnormalities in personal characters, including mental illness, drug addiction, alcoholism, and criminal background are stigmatized in this way.Many issues related to bad character can be stigmatized like drug abuse, alcoholism, criminal records and mental illness."Tribal stigmas" are behaviors or qualities that might be real or a myth, of certain ethnic group, nationality or of religion (Hinshaw, 2007).
All the above mentioned facts make stigma more fearful than the condition itself. In this situation being sick weren't bad enough, some diseases come with a social stigma that can make sufferers hide their illness. One of the major reasons that forces people to hide their suffering from others and hinders them to ask is because they feel ashamed and are fearful of others. They believe that if anyone will find out about their mental state, they will be judged and treated negatively because of their mental health. As a result of which these people will face numerous problems like adjusting to their surroundings and the culture they live in, finding an appropriate job according to their capability and potential, maintaining their relationships and other significant parts of life. In fact, majority of the individuals that have a mental disorder they say it is worse than the symptoms they feel.
Initially sigma was seemed as a mark of shame. Now it is seen as the mark of differentiation that sets one you apart from others. The word sigma puts focus on a person's difference rather than the ones who are setting them apart. Using the word sigma makes you different and not racist, sexiest or homophobic. Now, it is time to talk about sigma for what actually it is, not a difference but biased and discrimination. Bias refers to the negative attitude or beliefs regarding those who seem as different. Discrimination is basically acting upon these ideas and notions. These two makes stigma way to problematic and more fearful than the condition itself. Now the question arises that how difficult is it. What makes this situation more difficult than the actual suffering? Number of reasons can be pointed out in this context. One of the major reasons of the difficulty and trouble faced by the sufferers is the embarrassment they feel due to their health issues and the discrimination they face. Researchers brought few facts to light which are as follows.
Poor behavior is merely a vague justification for mental disorder. Very few individual would prefer to be linked or associated with someone having a drug abuse problem. Many measures can be taken to lessen the damages of this problem. The discrimination caused by this problem is a human right issue that needs to be monitored. Human right is all about freedom that is the right of every individual. The United Nations says that, "All persons with a mental illness shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person." Thus this freedom and respect cannot be taken away by anyone. Every individual has the right to negate this discrimination that is imposed on him as a consequence of this disease. Talking about laws is way too easy as compared to implementing them. For these laws to work and benefit humanity, everyone must acknowledge and accept them in order to implement them properly. Health is not merely about not having a disease or about finding an ailment for the suffering. It has a greater meaning that needs to be understood. Discernment, which is a natural outcome of stigma that makes it more fearful than the condition itself, is giving hype to poor well-being as it negates the idea of human rights, stops links amongst community members and produces imbalanced admittance. When a society supports human rights and tries to uproot the concept of discrimination, it is actually leading to improved well-being of every individual and society as a whole.
Few measures need to be implemented to prevent the negative impact of socially stigmatized condition that occur other than the suffering it causes as a consequence of the health issue. These few measures will somehow lessen the suffering of the victims of this disease. Firstly, try to stop the communication gap between individuals as it will eventually prevent people from taking part in communities. Poverty, dearth of basic necessities of life like health care, education, clothing and unavailability of work to afford daily life expenses are few of the social factors that negatively affects the social well-being of humanity. These factors can have multiple disadvantages like poor health along with psychological problems (van Vuuren, Teurlings and Bohlmeijer, 2012). Addressing this issue can be beneficial as it will play a significant role in reducing the negative effects of stigmatization. Encouraging the government to form and properly implement positive social policies and laws can be helpful to end up this discrimination in the society. Differences can be tremendously reduced this way.
Similarly, to support everyone's right to work. United Nation recognizes the right of individuals to work. The identification of this right is a significant aspect as it gives life a purpose and meaning. It is not only linked to income, but is also associated with other social factors. For instance, good income can solve many issues like poverty, lack of basic necessities of life like health care, education, clothing and unavailability of work to afford daily life expenses. In case of stigmatization, it has been seen in many underdeveloped third world countries that individual are imposed to discrimination at work place.…[continue]
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