The 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.