Information on Substance Abuse and Addiction is Empowering

substance abuse addiction informationThe worst thing a person can do for their substance abuse or addiction problems is remain in the dark with them. Substance abuse and addiction problems thrive in isolation and keeping them hidden and protected will only make them worse. Shining light on these problems, however, will help them heal. Like any other mentally unhealthy behavior, substance abuse and addiction can be defeated when the person afflicted with them educates themselves on their condition and its available treatment options. It has never been more true that knowledge is power than in the case of addiction and substance abuse.

Many people think they understand exactly what substance abuse and addiction are, but they are actually some of the most commonly misunderstood conditions out there. People tend to assess them with a number of unconscious biases and end up stigmatizing the condition more than understanding it. This creates misinformation and hardship for addicts and substance abusers who are trying to change their lives but are being met with more judgment than support. They would benefit greatly from society taking enough of an interest in their conditions to educate themselves on addiction and substance abuse before holding strong, harsh opinions on the subject. Addiction and substance abuse are forms of mental illness, and in many cases, physical illness as well. They are not character flaws, attacks on others or mere bad behavior.

Understanding the details of substance abuse and addiction is only part of a healthy, collective way of thinking about them. It is also important that people educate themselves on how to approach these conditions and interact with people who have them. Often times, people irrationally believe they know the solution to someone’s addiction or substance abuse issue and try to enforce their brand of change on them. This can do more damage than it repairs. Addiction and substance abuse issues are a problem of unhealthy thought and behavior patterns, which are unique to one individual. Not only is there no universal way of treating them, but it is also possible to make these conditions worse by treating them incorrectly. If you want to help someone you care about with their addiction or substance abuse problems, see that they connect with mental health professionals to receive treatment. You can personally help them by offering them support in their recovery and refusing to participate in their problems with them, but leave the mental health treatment to professionals who are trained in it.

Misunderstandings and Stigmas of Substance Abuse and Addiction

substance abuse addiction stigmaSomething we do as a species is form collective opinions on things and then reinforce our opinions on one another through the media and public discourse. This is fine as long as the collective opinion is ethical, well-rounded, appropriate and applicable. But all too often we form negative, uneducated opinions collectively and go about reinforcing them. This is largely where stigmas and misunderstandings on substance abuse and addiction come from. Judgment and stereotyping are also deeply ingrained habits of humanity that cause harm and destruction. If we have any chance of eradicating addiction and substance abuse, we need to do away with these harmful stigmas and misunderstandings. Some of the most common ones are that addicts and substance abusers are bums.

A pervasive stigma of addiction and substance abuse is that a person must be a detriment to society if they struggle with them. This comes from the age old stereotype of an addict or substance abuser as the dirty man in the alley outside the liquor store. This is one of the most common and the most harmful stereotypes that relates to addiction and substance abuse. The truth is, addicts and substance abusers are in our communities, neighborhoods, support systems and even our families on every level of society. Addiction and substance abuse wears many faces, some of which are much closer to home than many people realize.

Another common stigma of addicts and substance abusers is that they are damaged goods. People assume that because one area of an addict’s or substance abuser’s life is dysfunctional, they must have nothing to offer society. Nothing could be farther from the truth. On the whole, addicts are higher functioning people than the average person. They often have incredible energy and intelligence, as well as a great deal of talent. When a person is addicted, all their good qualities get channeled into and consumed by their addiction, and they gain a reputation as an addict rather than as a gifted person. Addiction may temporarily rob a person of their talents and their purpose, but rest assured, all of those qualities are still present and will return to the person when they recover from their addiction.

Substance Abuse and Addiction Education

education addiction substance abuseSubstance abuse and addiction are largely misunderstood entities in our culture. A majority of society holds incorrect perceptions of addiction and substance abuse, largely negative ones. They assume that if a person is an addict or a substance abuser, they are somehow a failure as a person. They may apply this logic to any number of hard-working, family-loving well meaning people who also happen to be addicts. This logic is blatantly unfair and shallow and needs to be eradicated. Only through education on substance abuse and addiction do people begin to understand the true nature of these illnesses and know how to approach them respectfully and appropriately.

One way that a person may come to understand addiction and substance abuse is through research. This may be done through an educational institution or privately. Educating one’s self on addiction and substance abuse by reading material that is published by mental health professionals and experts in the addiction field is commendable. You would not lead an organized debate or presentation without first doing a great deal of research on the topic you are debating or presenting. In the same sense, you should not go into the world with strong opinions on addiction and substance abuse if you are not a credible source of information on it.

The other method of gaining credibility in the areas of addiction and substance abuse are through experience. This means having worked with addicts and substance abusers or having close personal experience with them. If the experience is personal, it needs to have been a well informed personal experience, not a biased one that was full of unbridled emotion. For example, if you grew up with an alcoholic father, you certainly understand a side of addiction, but it may have come imparted with traumas and psychological damage that make you biased against substance abusers and addicts. This blogger’s advice is not to have conviction without credibility. Educate yourself on the intricacies of addiction and substance abuse to learn how to approach them as ethically as possible.

Where Responsibility Falls in Substance Abuse and Addiction

substance abuse addiction responsibilityIn matters of substance abuse and addiction, people tend to reason that they play no responsible role in other people’s choices. In many ways, this is true. Everyone is in charge of monitoring their use of substances and pleasurable activities, as well as caring for their own mental health and learning to have healthy thought and behavior patterns. However, there is an element of responsibility that we play in the lives of each other’s addictions, substance abuse and mental health. That responsibility is in our awareness and in our interactions.

Having awareness of any situation or condition implies that a person is reasonably knowledgeable about said situation or condition and has an understanding of how they effect the situation or condition. Therefore, having an awareness of substance abuse and addiction implies that a person understands the clinical definitions of substance abuse and addiction, understands how to identify cases of them and is open to learning about the dynamics of these conditions, particularly as they relate to the people in their life who struggle with them. People are not required to possess an awareness of addiction and substance abuse, but it greatly benefits society when people do.

The way a person treats an addict or substance abuser is also an area of responsibility that falls on all of us collectively. This boils down to simple decency in human treatment, but understanding the ethics of how to approach substance abuse and addiction is what makes all the difference. When a person has a true awareness of what addiction and substance abuse are, they will naturally be able to interact with an addict or substance abuser correctly, as well as treat them with decency. Addiction and substance abuse are legitimate diseases and they need to be approached accordingly. People who fall victim to them are every bit as intelligent and talented as anyone else, as well as every bit fragile and human. Understanding, compassion and boundaries go a long way with an addict or substance abuser.

In the United States and Canada, society as a whole has a ways to come before it knows how to properly accept addicts and substance abusers. But rest assured, there are support systems and mental health professionals who are devoted to meeting addicts and substance abusers where they are, offering them respect and helping them into recovery. Residents of the United States and Canada who are struggling with addiction can find support networks, whether they are an alcohol rehab Canada, a drug rehab United States or a detox center North America.