Addiction Recovery: Ending StigmaSeptember 24, 2020
Addiction recovery should always be part of the national discussion. Alcohol and substance use disorders impact the lives of practically every American—in one way or another. The fallout of addiction affects every aspect of life, from the economy to the average national life expectancy. We erode stigma, the more we discuss addiction and the possibility for recovery. Right now, tens of millions of men and women are working programs of recovery, thanks to intervention, treatment, and fellowship.
Each American knows someone who has or is dealing with an alcohol or substance use disorder. Addiction is ubiquitous; the disease does not discriminate. It affects individuals from every demographic; age, nationality, and socioeconomic standing make little difference regarding mental and behavioral health disorders.
Unfortunately, societal stigmas prevent many people from seeking help. Stigma begets shame begets guilt. Addicts and alcoholics feel forced to reside in the shadows; they keep their conditions hidden as best they can. Suffering in silence is a common thread among an untold number of men and women around the globe.
The reality that addiction is a treatable condition, and recovery is possible with intervention and commitment to working a program. Sadly, many individuals resign themselves to thinking that there is no hope for their condition.
There are a significant number of reasons one can be resistant to the idea of seeking help. However, fear of repercussions is among the most common reasons cited when asked why one let their disease go unchecked for so long. The good news is that love and compassion are potent weapons in the effort to encourage people to seek help.
Addiction and Suicide
A couple of weeks ago, we shared that September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. You may remember some of the statistics regarding the intersection of mental illness and suicide:
- More than one in three people who die by suicide are found to be under the influence of alcohol.
- Nearly half of people who commit suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition.
- The suicide rate has increased 31 percent in the U.S. since 2001.
Since addiction is often a factor in suicide, it makes sense that Suicide Awareness Prevention Month and National Recovery Month happen concurrently. Untreated addiction can lead to suicidal ideations. Again, we should mention stigma. When a person feels unable to seek help, they are more likely to sink deeper into despair. When he or she feels like they are out of options—drastic measures might be taken. The Each Mind Matters initiative writes:
“In support of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week, World Suicide Prevention Day and National Recovery Month, all held in September, we are encouraging a special focus on the intersection between suicide prevention, alcohol, and drug use and efforts that foster resilience and recovery.”
National Recovery Month
During National Recovery Month, you can play a role in shattering stigma and encourage addiction recovery. Help spread the message that treatment works and recovery is possible. Social media is a powerful tool for getting the message out about addiction recovery.
People who are suffering will feel less alone the more we talk about the disease, intervention, and treatment. What’s more, Recovery Month is also about celebrating the successes of men and women in recovery:
“National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) is an international observance…to educate people about how substance use and mental health services can enable individuals and their families to live healthy and rewarding lives. This observance celebrates the millions of people in recovery from mental health and substance use issues, reminding us that behavioral health is an essential component to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can, and do, recover.”
Many recovery-related events are occurring this month. For more information, please click here.
Addiction Recovery Intervention Professionals
National Recovery Month is also an ideal opportunity to learn more about staging a professional intervention. Whitman Recovery Service has more than 30 years of expertise guiding families with unwell loved ones. Please contact us today to learn more about our services. We also offer telehealth; please call (210) 291-0278.