There are 25 million Americans affected by substance abuse with an additional 40 million indirectly affected including family members per Mental Health America. Newsweek.com says about 42.5 million suffer from mental disabilities every year including bipolar, schizophrenia and depression, which is one in five people. I have multiple family and friends who have substance abuse issues and/or mental disabilities. Recently, there have been more situations I’ve heard about and I want to address it.
Mental illness is due to a brain disorder, and they often do not get the treatment that they need for various reasons. I do not understand how addiction affects some people and not others or the differences on how they are dealt with. Please do not misunderstand, I do not judge them for the choices made in these circumstances. I have made my fair share of mistakes, and mine were caused by my own faulty decisions, no additional help needed. I doubt I’ll ever truly understand substance abuse or mental disabilities but please, don’t shut those people who are wrestling with these issues out of your life. These people need your support and understanding. Give of yourself what you are capable of whether it’s a ride home after a party, watching TV with them so they aren’t lonely, or discussing the possibility of going to rehab to get help.
It’s hard to watch someone who has so much going for them hit bottom because of a substance, especially when they have a family. Or the adult who shoots at someone after a night drinking and goes to prison for assault with a deadly weapon. Or the teenager who commits suicide because they saw no other option. Or the person who has stayed sober for almost a year rebound with drugs or alcohol and end up in the emergency room needing dialysis for the rest of their life. It is their decision to be helped, and they are the only ones that can change because they want to. The people outside the situation can only do so much, but please help if you can. Sometimes a little kindness and hope can go a long way. Also, many people with these conditions hide or mask their issues so please, just be kind to everyone.