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National Recovery Month: Getting Help with Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Sep 01, 2021

National Recovery Month is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives. Now in its 31st year, Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those living in recovery.

What Is Substance Addiction?

What is Substance Addiction?

Substance addiction, also called substance use disorder (SUD), is a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication. Substances such as alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine also are considered drugs. When you’re addicted, you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes.

Can Addiction Be Treated Successfully?

Yes, addiction is a treatable disorder. Research on the science of addiction and the treatment of substance use disorders has led to the development of research-based methods that help people to stop using drugs and resume productive lives, also known as being in recovery.

Can Addiction Be Cured?

Like other chronic diseases such as heart disease or asthma, treatment programs for drug addiction usually isn’t a cure. But addiction can be managed successfully. Treatment enables people to counteract addiction’s disruptive effects on their brain and behavior and regain control of their lives.

Treating Substance Abuse

Different types of medications may be useful at different stages of treatment to help a patient stop abusing drugs, stay in treatment, and avoid relapse. This is called Medication-Assistance Treatment (MAT).

Treating Withdrawal.
When patients first stop using a substance, they can experience various physical and emotional symptoms, including restlessness or sleeplessness, as well as depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Certain treatment medications and devices reduce these symptoms, which makes it easier to stop drug use.

Staying in Treatment
Some treatment medications and mobile applications are used to help the brain adapt gradually to the absence of the drug. These treatments act slowly to help prevent drug cravings and have a calming effect on body systems. They can help patients focus on counseling and other psychotherapies related to their drug treatment.

Preventing Relapse
Science has taught us that stress cues linked to drug use (such as people, places, things, and moods), and contact with drugs are the most common triggers for relapse. Scientists have been developing therapies to interfere with these triggers to help patients stay in recovery.

Help With Substance Abuse

How to Help Someone with Addiction

Does someone you love have a drug problem? Whether it’s illegal substances or prescription medication, you can’t force anyone to stop abusing drugs. But there are ways to support their recovery.

Witnessing someone you care about battle a substance use disorder can be extremely distressing and take a heavy toll on your own mental and emotional well-being. Whether the drug abuser is a close friend, spouse, parent, child, or other family member, it’s easy for their addiction to take over your life. It can pile stress upon stress, test your patience, strain your bank balance, and leave you racked by feelings of guilt, shame, anger, fear, frustration, and sadness.

Signs of Substance Abuse

The following are some of the more common signs and symptoms of drug use. It is important to keep in mind that if a person has any of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that he or she is using drugs. They could be due to a mental or physical health problem. They might also be due to adolescent development (in the case of teens). Whatever the cause, they may warrant attention, especially if they persist or occur in a cluster.

Physical Signs

Behavioral Signs

Talking to Someone with an Addiction About Getting Help

Starting a conversation with someone about their drug addiction is never easy, but it’s important you come from a place of compassion and understanding. Remember, no one sets out to become an addict. Drug abuse is often a misguided attempt to cope with painful issues or mental health problems. Stress tends to fuel addictive behavior, so criticizing, demeaning, or shaming them will only push your loved one away and may even encourage them to seek further comfort in substance abuse.

Discovering someone you love has a drug problem can generate feelings of shock, fear, and anger, especially if it’s your child or teen who’s using. These strong emotions can make communicating with a drug user even more challenging. So, it’s important to choose a time when you’re both calm, sober, and free of distractions to talk. Offer your help and support without being judgmental.

Don’t Delay
You don’t have to wait for your loved one to hit rock bottom—to get arrested, lose their job, suffer a medical emergency, or publicly humiliate themselves—to speak out. The earlier an addiction is treated, the better.

Express Concerns Honestly
Emphasize that you care for the person and are worried about their well-being. Offer specific examples of your loved one’s drug-related behavior that has made you concerned—and be honest about your own feelings.

Even when you don’t agree with the person, take the time to listen to what they have to say, without trying to argue or contradict them. The more your loved one feels heard, the more they’ll see you as supportive, someone they can confide in.

Offer Information
Offer them information about how they can address their drug problem—whether that’s calling a helpline, talking to a doctor or counselor, entering a treatment program, or going to a group meeting such as SMART Recovery, or a 12-step program like Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

Be Prepared For Denial
Your loved one may become defensive or angry and refuse to discuss their drug use. Many people feel a sense of shame when confronted by their behavior and will try to deny they have a problem. Don’t argue with them, just revisit the issue another time.

Don’t Lecture
Avoid trying to lecture, threaten, bribe, or punish the person. Getting angry or making emotional appeals will likely only add to the user’s feelings of guilt and reinforce their compulsion to use.

Don’t expect a single conversation to fix the problem. This will likely be the first of many conversations you’ll need to have regarding your loved one’s drug use. There’s no quick fix to overcoming addiction. It may take several conversations for them to even acknowledge they have a problem, the first step on the road to recovery.

Addiction Treatment & Addiction Recovery

Getting Professional Help for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Trying to locate appropriate treatment for a loved one, especially finding a program tailored to an individual’s particular needs, can be a difficult process. The first step is to contact HealthCore Clinic to schedule an appointment with a substance abuse counselor and/or mental and behavioral health professional.

HealthCore Clinic has medical and behavioral health staff specializing in:

At HealthCore Clinic, our culturally appropriate mental health and substance abuse services are designed to reduce stigma and provide a comfortable and safe environment for the management and treatment of substance abuse. HealthCore Clinic is here for getting help with alcohol addiction, getting help with drug addiction, and help with substance abuse.

FAQs About National Recovery Month & Substance Abuse


Addiction Support Near Me

If you or someone you know needs help or assistance with substance abuse, HealthCore Clinic can help. The next step is calling us at 316-691-0249 or contact us online to learn more.