Addiction is an illness

Editor:

Re: Help those who have no choice, Sept. 27 letters.

So letter-writer Cheryl Berti doesn’t think drugs and alcohol are considered a disease.

They are a “choice,” in her words.

Editor:

Re: Help those who have no choice, Sept. 27 letters.

So letter-writer Cheryl Berti doesn’t think drugs and alcohol are considered a disease.

They are a “choice,” in her words.

As someone who has seen several family and friends affected by different types of alcohol and drug addictions through my 40-plus years of life, I can tell you it is not a “choice” to continue their addictions.

I’ve even had strong arguments with others who believed as Berti did, only to see them fall victim to these kinds of addictions themselves.

I strongly believe addictions are a form of mental illness.

If we are to believe as Berti does, can we not apply the same parameters to schizophrenics (they “choose” to listen to the voices) or the depressed (they “choose” to remain unhappy) or the obese (they “choose” to eat all the time).

We need to stop thinking of addiction, in all its forms, in terms of it being a choice. These people may have made the initial “choice” to try a drug or drink/eat to kill emotional or physical pain in their life, but the addiction itself is not a choice.

I have heard it called an “intense hunger,” one that can not be ignored or the pain becomes too great. For some, when they are without, they automatically seek out that which will kill the hunger or pain.

Unfortunately, it seems many just want to sweep anything that is distasteful under the carpet, so they don’t have to deal with it.

We need to stop looking at addictions – and many other forms of unacceptable behaviour – as a “choice,” and start looking at them and deal with them as a form of mental illness so that we can, as a society, move on and help those in need by treating them so that they can live fulfilled lives again.

Jeff McArdon, Surrey

• • •

We have a real problem in this world when someone has an addiction. They are not considered as having a mental illness, as they have an addiction, even though through their addiction they have done something stupid, like jumping out of second-storey window of a rehab facility.

Of course, the rehab facility no longer has a place for them, due to worry about litigation. Yet these same poor souls are not considered as psychiatric material by the hospital/government ward.

So where do they belong? I think it’s called a grey area where these  poor souls fall between the cracks.

I hope you or anyone you know never have to experience addiction.

Randy & Janet Henley, White Rock

• • •

Who has no choice?

For many years I have volunteered and worked in the non-profit/social-service sector. I have heard the stories of many people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

I was very disturbed by the letter from Cheryl Berti. She feels we should support the deserving and let the rest be homeless.

Who will make that decision?

Is the drug-addicted woman, who had two children fathered by her father before she was 15, not deserving? Is the alcoholic man, who suffers from dyslexia but was beaten for bad grades and is brain damaged as a result, not deserving? I wouldn’t want to make that choice.

Berti is not the only person with these attitudes; hers reflect the feelings of many. Homelessness not only damages the lives of the individuals, it damages society.

It is easy to find evidence that homelessness costs the taxpayer more than providing housing.

So why then do we not do it?

The government cannot be seen to help the “undeserving.” It would be political suicide.

We all need help some time in our lives. Some are fortunate, some are not; are they less deserving than us?

Are lung-cancer patients, who have been addicted to smoking not deserving of treatment?

It’s a slippery slope.

Judy Peterson, White Rock

 

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