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Letter: Don’t judge individuals dealing with addiction

Don’t judge individuals dealing with addiction

The issue of addiction is now being brought to the forefront of public consciousness, and rightly so. This problem is not new, but has escalated to a point where it is affecting people who may not have been previously exposed to the illness.

What needs to be brought home is the fact that addiction, no matter what the substance, is an illness, not a problem brought about by a lack of character. When medical professionals, psychiatric providers and patient family members approach the addicted individual with a judgmental attitude, it only reinforces to that person what he already feels – a lack of self-worth and guilt – which only serves to put up another barrier to the process of recovery.

As providers, family members and neighbors, it is in our best interest to put judgment aside and treat addicted individuals with empathy and compassion. To do otherwise is simply counterproductive.

Susan Gibbons, R.N.