When someone has cancer, they receive treatment.
When someone has diabetes, they receive treatment.
When someone has a stroke, they go through rehabilitation.
When someone has an addiction to drugs or alcohol, they are labeled, chastised and sometimes even incarcerated.
Yes, each of these ailments are a disease, an illness. So why is one treated so differently?
In a letter to CentralMaine.com, Robert Creamer Hallowell writes, "Today we face an increasing crisis, some call it an epidemic, in a disease we call addiction. We have arrived at this point because addiction is a complex and difficult disease and because the treatment field has not embraced the information we now have available in the same spirit as we have seen with such diseases as cancer, diabetes and stroke."
For anyone who has doubt, addiction is a neurometabolic disease. And educating those around us about this truth is not only necessary but will also help the world understand the unnecessary stigma attached to addiction.
In his powerful message, Creamer Hallowell writes, "So I have a dream that one day soon the stigma of addiction will be lifted and that all those in need of treatment, including and especially all family, will receive it without judgment."
He goes on to say, "I have a dream that medical schools, educational institutions and teaching hospitals will improve their curricula and devote adequate time to all areas of medicine that addiction effects."
He, like so many other affected by addiction are hoping for the treatment field to embrace what research is available and probe for more, finding ways to the biological nature of addiction and learn to treat the person instead of the disease.
In his most powerful statement, he says, "I have a dream that addiction will be addressed as a disease and not as a defect of character, moral deficit or a lack of willpower."
Here's to making dreams a reality.
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