The Stigma Of Invisible Disabilities. Invisible Disabilities

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The Stigma of Invisible Disabilities Invisible disabilities are exactly what they seem to be: hidden from view. Invisible disabilities come in almost endless varieties, including mental illnesses, HIV, AIDS, diabetes, learning disabilities, epilepsy, and more. While there may be visible components to these disabilities, all of them can be virtually invisible and “hidden” from view. People often make assumptions based on what is visibly seen, so when someone is suffering from something invisible, it is assumed that the person is fine, because they appear to be fine. This assumption causes the reinforcement of stereotypes and prejudice that form misconceptions regarding invisible disabilities. Despite these physical and psychological…show more content…
Visible manifestations of an underlying disability may be misattributed by an observer to other causes (Santuzzi et al. 3). For instance, someone who suffers from chronic pain may not be able to do as much activity as someone who does not suffer, but when the person with chronic pain takes a break, they are labeled as “lazy” or told they are “bringing the team down.” Stigma can make those who suffer from serious invisible disabilities feel as though they are making up their own symptoms, or being a burden on those around them, and these stigmas can have serious consequences on the health of someone with an invisible disability. Stigmas come in two different types: public and self. A public stigma is the reaction that the general public has to people with invisible disabilities (Corrigan and Watson 16-17). On the other hand, self-stigma is the prejudice which people with invisible disabilities turn against themselves. Both types of stigma can have a significantly negative impact on someone who suffers from an invisible disability. Public stigma reinforces stereotypes and prejudice misattributed to invisible disabilities and self-stigma stems from widely known public stigma, leading to a negative outlook in regards to having an invisible disability. The visibility of a potentially stigmatizing identity— such as schizotypal personality disorder— has been suggested to be the primary feature that causes those with invisible disabilities to

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