By: Cary Quashen
Someone once shared with me they thought an alcoholic or drug addict was the old man who lived underneath the bridge and was homeless, doomed to a life of recklessness and hopelessness. But also shared they had subsequently discovered addiction affects everyone.
Through their own personal journey with a family member who was addicted to heroin they soon learned addiction is a devastating disease for those who suffer, as well as for the people who love them. Addiction is a disease of isolation; it does not discriminate, it affects people of all ages, genders, social, economic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.
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September marks the 24th annual National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) observance, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and raises awareness about mental and substance use disorders that affect millions of individuals, as well as their families, and celebrates those in recovery.
This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Together on Pathways to Wellness,” represents the many ways that people can prevent mental and substance use disorders, seek treatment, and sustain recovery as part of a commitment to living a mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy life.
Treatment is one of many pathways to achieve recovery from behavioral health conditions, which include mental, substance use, and co-occurring disorders. In 2010, 23.1 million people aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem (9.1 percent of people aged 12 or older). Of these, 2.6 million (1 percent of people aged 12 or older and 11.2 percent of those who needed treatment) received treatment at a specialty facility.
1) Moreover, among 45.9 million Americans aged 18 and older who experienced any mental illness, just 17.9 million received mental health treatment.
2) Recovery support services provide individuals recovering from behavioral health conditions with the guidance and assistance to maintain and sustain their recovery.
While the road to recovery may be difficult, the benefits of preventing and overcoming mental and/or substance use disorders are significant and valuable to individuals, families, and communities. People in recovery achieve healthy lifestyles, both emotionally and physically, and contribute in positive ways to their communities. They also prove to family members, friends, and others that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover.
Because a wide range of treatment and recovery support options exist, it’s important to find what works best for you or your loved ones who need help. Remember that treatment and recovery are ongoing – it’s a process that unfolds over time, rather than a time-limited “event.
No single treatment option is effective for everyone; generally, each person will need a customized treatment plan that includes goals and treatment activities designed to help achieve and sustain recovery, and plans may need to be assessed continually and modified as necessary during the road to recovery.
Treatment and support services for mental health problems include:
Psychotherapy: Includes cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, family-focused therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and interpersonal therapy.
Medication Therapy: Does not cure mental health conditions, but can help people feel better and maintain normal daily routines. Medication should be taken as prescribed, and under the supervision of a health care professional.
Support Groups: Groups led by peers, mental health professionals, or specialty organizations that provide a forum for people to find support and common ground with others experiencing similar conditions.
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Treatment and Recovery Support Services for Substance Use Disorders
Half of all adults over age 18 know someone in recovery from an addiction to alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription drugs. Individuals with an alcohol or drug dependency need to acknowledge their problem; reach out to family, friends, or health care professionals for help; and receive treatment. The following options are available:
Inpatient Treatment Programs: Hospital-based rehabilitation units, inpatient residential programs, and therapeutic communities.
Outpatient Treatment Programs: Individual counseling, medication-assisted treatment, family counseling, and group therapy.
Recovery Support Services: Peer-to-peer support programs, mutual support groups, faith-based support groups, and recovery schools.
Online Support Groups: E-therapy services, recovery chat rooms/forums, blogs, and social networking sites.
Changing attitudes about drug addiction, treatment and recovery are starting to take hold.
Public education helps people understand that addiction is a treatable illness, not a moral failing.
Recovery is a transformative process that has individual, family and community dimensions, and there are many pathways to recovery. The more we talk about addiction the more recovery stands a chance. Addiction is a “we” problem not a “them” problem and must be addressed by the whole community.
Cary Quashen is a certified addiction specialist and the president and founder of Action Family Counseling Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs, Action Parent and Teen Support Group Programs, and the Action Zone. He can be reached by calling (661) 297-8691. Quashen has been in recovery for over 30 years and dedicated his life to helping others achieve sobriety and long term recovery.
Source: Santa Clarita News