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National Recovery Month

September 01, 2013

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September is National Recovery Month—an annual recognition of the fact that millions of Americans suffer from addiction and other mental disorders, which can be successfully treated, allowing people to live healthy, rewarding lives. It is also an occasion to encourage people to do what they can to widen the availability of effective prevention, treatment, and recovery services for the many individuals who need them.

During Recovery Month (formerly National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month), participating treatment, prevention, and recovery-related organizations and associations—including Federal, state, and local government entities will use traditional and social media to disseminate information on treatment and recovery services. The aim is to help local communities reach people in need of help, as well as their friends and families, and encourage them to seek out the treatments and supports that are available.

Stigma and widespread misconceptions about the nature of addiction and its susceptibility to treatment are major obstacles to getting needed services to people with substance use disorders and those at risk. Other mental health conditions face similar obstacles. Recovery Month spreads the message that mental health is an essential part of a person’s overall health, that prevention and treatment are effective, and that recovery is a reality and that it can take many forms.

Just as many people successfully manage other chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and asthma, people with substance use and other mental disorders can do the same, and restore their lives, especially if they are fortunate enough to receive treatment and the support of family, friends, and others in recovery.

For more information about National Recovery Month, I encourage you to visit www.recoverymonth.gov.

This page was last updated September 2013

Comments

Adolescent Drug Use

First, my kudos to National Recovery Month - any and all things to bring the rising tide of addiction & recovery to the forefront are now mission-critical. I work in the trenches of recovery at a treatment facility as a support person for clients & counselors. I see a significant increase in adolescent addiction to the worst of drugs, heroin and methamphetamine. Why these two hellish drugs? Some years ago, I had the opportunity to meet & discuss his research with Joseph Chilton Pearce, who in his prescient writings had predicted the adolescent developmental consequences of "hot," rapid-fire media, excessive digital device usage and the resulting immersive distraction. Our newest generation of "Digital Natives" literally has "new brains," neurologically different by being continually exposed to, then "hijacked," by the aforementioned digital environment. Thus, the continual earbud/headphone wearing, texting rather than talking, heightened boredom, (the complaint I hear most from the young addict) and lowered empathy that are some of the characteristics of the "digitally disconnected" young. No surprise that many who lack the neurological "muscle" to deal with the "connected" world they're expected to succeed in turn to the only seeming relief from conflicted thinking/behavior chemically capable of impacting their "new brains." Resulting in the powerful opiate & stimulant addiction we see today. Effective addiction treatment will necessitate more brain-based methodology; I've been following the "brain hacking" devices, such as the recent FDA approved brain stimulation device (with research papers on addiction available on their website), new biofeedback hardware, and others. These could be an adjunct to traditional treatment modalities to reach the addicted "new brain." I'm just a layman, only commenting on what I've observed and my thoughts concerning what I now refer to as, "the cognitive chickens coming home to roost." I hope to have an opportunity to talk further with you about this..

"Bright Light"

Went to the pre-screening of "Anonymous People" Faces and Voices of Recovery last night. It was inspiring to see this movement growing.

But I have a question for Dr. Volkow: Bill W. described a "bright light" experience he had in the hospital that began his recovery journey. I have heard of this experience happening to many others who are now in long term recovery. My question is, has anyone ever tried to image, either with EEG or other brain scanning methods, to see one of these events as they have occurred?

Information Bring about Change

National Recovery Month shines a positive light in an area of darkness. It allows many to find out the truths about substance and mental disorders. Once a person is informed and is aware of the problem, change can take place. We, as a people, shun help when we need it the most. Hopefully someone can take what is offered and take the next step toward a healthier lifestyle.

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