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National Drug and Alcohol Recovery Month

Table of Contents

National drug and alcohol recovery month is held every September to help Americans understand more about substance use issues. It incorporates prevention, treatment, recovery, and mental health advice and guidance.

Here at Restore Detox Centers, we focus on these things every single day, not just one month of the year. However, we appreciate the opportunity that national drug and alcohol recovery month provides to shine a light on the work we do.

It’s an opportunity to explore the steps we can take to recover from addiction, prevent relapse and lead healthier lives. We’ll explain all that and more, in this detailed guide.

Raising Awareness For National Drug and Alcohol Recovery Month

National recovery month was established by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services 32 years ago. It celebrates the achievements made by those in recovery in the same way we celebrate the recovery of those who are managing other health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease.
National drug and alcohol recovery month is a chance to reinforce a positive message. It’s a message that behavioral health is a part of overall human health and a message that treatment works and people can and do beat addiction.

Read our interview with Frankie Holmes who has had his journey with rehabilitation. Holmes featured in DOPESICK NATION, VICELAND’s docu-series about the recovery industry. Hollywood Actor Jamie Lee Curtis openly talked about her battle with Opioid addiction too.
Addiction can and does affect all demographics and people from all walks of life. Although everyone’s journey through addiction is different, we’re all in this together and can help and support each other.

The 2021 National Recovery Month theme, “Recovery is For Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community,” reminds people that recovery is possible.

Faces & Voices of Recovery has created a new Recovery Month website. From now on, they will be the managerial organization for National Recovery Month, rather than the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Watch Joy's Story

Drug and Alcohol Addiction

When it comes to drug and alcohol addiction in the United States some of the statistics might surprise you. Despite being a taboo subject from a social perspective it’s a widespread issue that affects us all.

For example, according to a 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 4.2 million people in the U.S over the age of 12 got substance use treatment in the sample year?

That means in all likelihood if you don’t have an addiction yourself, you know someone who does.

Drugs

Drug addiction is considered a disease because it negatively impacts brain function and behavior. An inability to control drug use is symptomatic of that disease but there are other symptoms too.

Addictive drugs activate reward responses in the brain which create addictive chemicals and mood enhancements.

They change the way a person feels, views the world around them, and behaves. One of the critical components of that addictive experience is that when drugs wear off a person feels bad.

That creates a cycle of dependency that means the user tries to prevent withdrawal symptoms by continuing to use the substance that they have become addicted to.

This is the case for all addictions, regardless of whether the substance is alcohol or a pharmaceutical. Even prescription drugs create addictions.

Painkiller Addiction

When you take a look at the statistics for drug addiction the most common harmful addictions are alcohol and perhaps surprisingly, painkillers. A lot of people have become addicted to drugs like codeine, Vicodin, and oxycontin.

They are commonly prescribed to treat pain. But, as you may know, that practice has caused a serious public health crisis in the U.S.

According to this report by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), in 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication, enough for every adult in the United States to have a bottle of pills.

And, according to the HHS, (Department for Health and Human Services), “Opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 deaths in 2016, more than any previous year on record. An estimated 40% of opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription opioid.”

Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is another commonly abused substance. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), cocaine use has remained relatively stable since 2009. In 2014, there was an estimated 1.5 million current (past-month) cocaine users aged 12 or older (0.6 percent of the population).

More surprisingly a national survey revealed that nearly 1.9 million or 0.8 percent of the population aged 18 or older are current cocaine users. That’s in part due to the industry behind cocaine becoming modernized and the drug becoming more readily available throughout the U.S.

Cocaine is a stimulant and it comes from the coca plant which grows in South America. It’s manufactured as either a white powder for inhalation or as a rock format, which is colloquially known as crack.

Very Young People Are Addicted

Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the DEA. Although it might have some limited medical use it’s very rarely used as a medicine in the United States.

Surprisingly, despite it being an expensive drug to obtain, teenagers do become addicted to cocaine.

In 2018, the NSDUH estimated more than 4 out of 5 people aged 12 or older perceived great risk of harm from weekly use of cocaine or heroin (86.5 and 94.3 percent, respectively), while less than one-third of people (30.6 percent) perceived great risk of harm from weekly marijuana use.

Cocaine creates an intense high because the brain is flooded with dopamine, which is the brain chemical related to sensations of pleasure. Although cocaine’s effects are fast to begin, they’re also short-lived which can lead to repeated use and dependency.

Like alcohol, cocaine tends to be abused in a binge pattern. Crashing, or withdrawal can result in both physical and mental fatigue. It can also cause depression, damage to the brain, and severe drug cravings.

Alcohol

Are you worried about binge drinking?

Staying sober is difficult enough for people who aren’t addicted. One in seven Americans is participating in Dry January, according to several recent surveys. But, alcohol addiction is a more serious condition that needs to be treated and often goes undiagnosed.

Did you know that alcohol is the most regularly used addictive substance in the world?

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reports one out of every twelve American adults suffers from an abuse or dependency issue. But unfortunately, very few seek addiction treatment.

More Similar To Cocaine Than You Might Think

Like cocaine, alcohol affects dopamine levels to enhance mood and increase sociability. It also acts as a central nervous system depressant. That slows down the electrical impulses in nerves and your brain.

That leads to alcohol also lowering blood pressure and slowing a person’s heartbeat. However, with alcohol use, the physical effects are not the only risk factors.

Alongside liver and kidney damage, alcohol poses a social risk and can ruin relationships and lead to job losses. It also represents an accident risk because it impairs motor skills and cognition. So, there are multiple factors that make alcoholism so dangerous for the person who is addicted.

Serious Withdrawal Symptoms

A lot of people who have never been addicted to alcohol fail to realize that alcohol addiction also comes with withdrawal side effects. Withdrawal can range from mild to deadly.

Alcohol withdrawal can cause seizures, psychosis, abdominal issues, insomnia, sweating, tremors, night terrors, anxiety, and depression among a host of other health problems. That makes alcohol, although widely used and legally available, a very dangerous substance to become addicted to.

High Functioning Alcoholism

When you think of alcoholism, you might think it naturally correlates with social difficulties. However, high functioning alcoholism is extremely common.

There are five main subtypes of alcoholics used in therapeutic settings. These are:

1.

Functional Alcoholic

2.

Young Adult

3.

Young Antisocial

4.

Intermediate Familial

5.

Chronic Severe

The chronic severe type of alcoholic might be the one that most comes to mind, or is most represented on television, but the other subtypes are more common overall.

High-functioning alcoholics (HFA) are people who blend in with their peers, family, or coworkers and don’t appear to have any problems. They might have a good job and be able to keep hold of it and live an ordinary lifestyle but be able to do so while also under the influence of alcohol.

In reality, although this is a hidden addiction, high functioning alcoholics have all the same dangers and potential for death or injury as a chronic severe alcoholic has. It’s just an invisible problem to those around them.

Alcoholism Affects All Demographics

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), men are almost twice more likely than women to be diagnosed with an alcohol abuse disorder. However, the condition does span all genders and ages. They say 11.2 million men, 5.7 women, and 0.1 million under 18s were diagnosed as problem drinkers in 2012.

There’s also a connection between alcohol use and violence against women.

In a report on intimate partner violence, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that roughly 55% of domestic abuse perpetrators were drinking alcohol before the assault. Women who are abused are 15 times more likely to abuse alcohol.

Mental Health

So, it’s easy to see the relationship between addiction and mental health. Addicts are more at risk of anxiety, depression, and other emotional and psychological problems.

Mental health issues are connected to a host of substance abuse issues. Sometimes, the reason for the addiction is a health problem such as depression and the person is drinking alcohol or taking drugs to try to self-medicate.

In some cases, the person was healthy and active but got injured and turned to prescription painkillers, for example, which then became an opioid addiction. In any case, mental health problems are directly related to substance abuse.

Part of healing and treating a person’s mental health issues can often be treating and recovering from substance abuse. Therefore, it’s usually the best course of action to get treatment for both mental health and substance abuse at the same time.

By getting treatment for both you can prevent the chances of relapse and have a better chance of a complete recovery. There are lots of forms of treatment that integrate psychological support and addiction recovery.

Here at Restore Detox Centers, our treatments address the whole person. We believe in tackling emotional, physical, and psychological wellbeing all at the same time to help support treatment and recovery.

Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery

Prevention, treatment, and recovery are the key three elements to help people to end addiction. Here’s an overview of how each can help.

Prevention

Prevention should start young. If we, as a society, want to help adults to avoid the pitfalls of addiction we should educate them when they’re still children.

Preventing early use of drugs or alcohol can help to reduce the risks of substance addiction later in life. The risk of drug use increases during times of emotional stress and change. Within adults, this means divorce, job loss and even moving to a town or country increase the chances of an adult becoming substance addicted.

For children, changing schools, moving homes, and other life transitions are key times when they are also at higher risk of becoming substance addicted. The teenage years are often a time for creative exploration and for forming friendship groups. When this is combined with life transitional stress and exposure to substances, it’s where dependencies can first develop.

Drug experimentation as a teen, even if it doesn’t develop into addiction at that time, can lay the foundation for a substance abuse addiction later in life.

A key, then, to preventing drug addiction or alcohol dependency in adults is to speak directly to teens in an unpatronizing way about substance abuse and what they can do to prevent it.

Research-based and evidence-based programs that leverage scientific evidence are especially useful in schools, families, and youth groups. Studies have shown that research-based programs such as this one by the National Institute are effective.

Treatment

Here at Restore Detox Center, we offer a range of treatment types to provide a complete care plan for treatment that includes different techniques and therapeutic modalities.

Treatment here could be a detox treatment, a specialty treatment, or a residential stay and include a range of therapies such as:

Treatable But Complex

At Restore Detox Centers we recognize that substance abuse and addiction are treatable but they’re also quite complicated.

Addiction is a disease that affects your brain and your mental health, so it means long after treatment and well into recovery changes are still taking place in a person’s mind and a person’s life.

That’s why substance abusers are so often at risk of a relapse, even after years or even decades of abstinence and it can have potentially deadly consequences. So, we don’t just treat people for recovery right now. We also look into the future to work together on ways to prevent a relapse too.

Unique People Need Unique Treatments

No single ‘silver bullet’ treatment is right for everyone. Matching the right treatment to the person who is seeking recovery is essential and it could include a range of different strategies, techniques, and even some non-addictive substances.

Treatment should also be there when the person needs it. It’s no good offering a helpline that only operates five hours a day. We can all see why that wouldn’t work. So, accessibility and flexibility are key elements of treatment.

Effective treatment is also appropriate to the person’s gender, age, ethnicity, and culture. It’s also the right duration. Spending one weekend in a detox clinic might not be long enough for someone to have any real lasting benefit.

Unfortunately, it’s an industry obstacle for detox centers that guests who are working towards recovery do often leave prematurely. Industry treatment centers, therefore, have to develop better emotional incentives and techniques to help keep patients in treatment until it’s fully aided their recovery.

Addiction Recovery

Our guide to self-acceptance and recovery is a good place to start if you’re interested in learning more about alcohol recovery, drug addiction recovery, or another type of addiction recovery.

However, at Restore Detox Centers each guest’s recovery journey is different. We don’t just treat people for substance abuse (but also provide mental health support too) so the recovery process varies.

Recovery has another element to it, the prevention of relapse and that requires some extra education and strategy.
There are generally understood to be 6 stages of recovery. It sounds technical but they are often referred to as the transtheoretical model. They were devised by researchers James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente to explain how treatment works.

They are pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination.

Pre-Contemplation

Before recovery can begin a person is usually in a phase of denial. They either don’t realize or won’t admit they have a problem. In that phase, they’ve got a handle on things, or feel like they’re in control of their substance abuse.

Reluctant. They don’t have any motivation to change because they don’t realize there’s an issue.
Rebellious. They know there’s an issue but they refuse to be restricted or controlled by others.
Resigned. They’ve lost hope and their motivation has gone with it.
Rationalizing. They feel well-informed and backed by data so they don’t think they have a problem that needs to be solved.

Contemplation

Stage two is contemplation and it is the moment that the person with the substance abuse addiction realizes that they do have a problem or emotionally confronts it.

Admitting that we have a problem can be painful and this represents a stage at which the person can have a conversation about what they want to change and how harmful substance use can be.

However, they’re still contemplating the change, they’re not yet addressing it or making commitments. Sometimes, at this stage people seize upon the opportunity to start treatment, and other times they return to the pre-contemplation stage.

Preparation

In the preparation stage, the person has committed to take action and seek treatment for their addiction. They may meet with a healthcare professional or call a detox center like ours. They’re ready to work on a plan for treatment and recovery.

Action

In the preparation stage, the person has committed to take action and seek treatment for their addiction. They may meet with a healthcare professional or call a detox center like ours. They’re ready to work on a plan for treatment and recovery.

Maintenance & Relapse

They leave the treatment they’ve had in a state of recovery, but they recognize that recovery is a long process and the maintenance and relapse stage signifies that.

Termination

The termination stage is technically the stage some other people would call ‘in recovery’ because the individual feels comfortable living their life at this stage. They are less afraid of relapsing as the days go by and they’re very content that they’ve made lasting changes.

Sometimes former addicts work in the substance support and recovery industry and they are typically in this phase of their recovery. They can’t imagine going back to the substance abuse cycle.
However they still do know, likely from their additional education, health, and substance abuse that anyone who has ever had a problem with addiction still could relapse.

We Are Here to Help

We hope you enjoyed our guide to national drug and alcohol recovery month.
If you need help for yourself or a loved one, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Restore Detox Centers.

We’re ready to help you to get treatment and recovery. Learn more about admissions.

A lot of our guests begin by browning our treatments and services. Alternatively, if you have any questions, contact us now.

 

Sources

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  2. World Health Organization (WHO) (n.d.). Alcohol Violence: Intimate partner violence and alcohol. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/world_report/factsheets/fs_intimate.pdf
  3. Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs (ASPA). (n.d.). What is the U.S. Opioid Epidemic? Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/index.html
  4. Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs (ASPA). (n.d.). What is the U.S. Opioid Epidemic? Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/index.html
  5. CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain – United States, 2016. (2016, March 18). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/rr/rr6501e1.htm
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  8. Faces and Voice Recovery. (2021, September 13). Retrieved from https://facesandvoicesofrecovery.org/
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  10. How many people use cocaine? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://drugpolicy.org/drug-facts/cocaine/how-many-people-use-cocaine
  11. S. (n.d.). Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018.pdf
  12. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, June 11). What is the scope of cocaine use in the United States? Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-scope-cocaine-use-in-united-states
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