How does shame and guilt impact substance use?
Apr 15, 2022
A fascinating article has been published in the journal Plos One titled “The shame spiral of addiction: Negative self-conscious emotion and substance use.” The article describes a research project that involved interviews with 110 men who used methamphetamine who were tracked over time. The researchers found that higher levels of shame were associated with slower decreases in methamphetamine use over time, while guilt was associated with continued methamphetamine use over time. We’ve long known that feelings of shame and guilt contribute to negative self-perceptions, that can lead to increased substance use. This study gives some insight into the impact of this, and also shows us that addressing stigma is a key strategy when we want to help people make changes to their substance use.