According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nine out of ten people who need substance abuse treatment don’t receive the help they need. For the 10% of Americans who have made it into recovery, it’s a continuous battle to be free from the grip of opioid dependence, alcoholism, and other forms of addiction.
During the month of September, we celebrate journeys to recovery and shine a light on those still fighting. It’s time for communities to strengthen our resolve and change the story.
What causes addiction?
Addiction isn’t weakness. Abusing substances can fundamentally change how the brain behaves, but how do people get to this point?
Personal history, including adverse childhood experiences, can make a person more susceptible to negative emotional states and create a strong motivation to seek relief. Once a brain experiences increased levels of pleasure-causing chemicals from substance use, addiction starts to take hold.
There is also a gene-factor to substance abuse. A person’s genetic make-up accounts for approximately 50% of their risk in becoming addicted, and it can make recovery greater than just a mental battle.
Why is recovery hard to achieve?
For those trying to overcome addiction, it can be challenging to enter recovery. Treatment isn’t easy to find. Stigma surrounds their situation. A lot of barriers have to be broken before finding lasting solutions for substance abuse.
Recovery is possible, though. Organizations like Valley Oaks Health provide treatment options for those struggling with all forms of addiction. Currently, over 23 million Americans are in recovery. That’s a network of 23 million people who know the struggle and are ready to walk alongside those who need support.
What can I do?
Whether you’re on your own journey to recovery or know someone battling addiction, here are a few ways to get in the fight:
- Spread the word. Would you like to actively spread awareness about addiction and recovery? If so, you can download more resources here.
- Partner with experts. There are several ways to take steps beyond the month of September. Connect with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and find new ways to promote recovery.
- Understand recovery and addiction. Education is critical to overcoming the stigma. Learn more here.
- Get the help you need. If you or a loved one need support, now is the time to take action. There are a number of resources available for those in a crisis as well as options for their family and friends. Find more information here.
As Robert Collier said, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” Recovery is an ongoing process, but success is possible.