Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month 2016

mental illness
At the beginning of the month we wrote about the importance of National Recovery Month with regard to breaking the stigma of addiction, encouraging people to seek addiction treatment and recognizing the achievements made by those in recovery. Those who are actively working a program, and have been for some time, are fully aware of the gifts of recovery—without their program nothing they have today would be possible.

Addiction is a debilitating, life threatening mental illness. Left untreated, and without a continued program of spiritual maintenance, addiction will continue to drag you down into the depths of despair. Every year people’s lives are cut short because of their addiction, which is why it is so important that we continue to spread the message that: together we can, and do recover from this insidious disease of the mind.

Blurring the Lines of Mental Illness

In the field of addiction medicine, it is not rare for people living with a substance use disorder to also have another form of mental illness at play, such as depression. When that is the case, such patients are referred to as having a co-occurring disorder. It is not all that important whether a person happens to have both addiction and another form of mental health disorder, or they developed a substance use disorder as a result of using drugs and alcohol to cope with the symptoms of their untreated mental illness. What is important for ensuring a successful recovery is that both the addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorder be treated at the same time, failure to treat one and not the other can be disastrous—leading to a relapse.

The stakes are exceptionally high, mental illness is a matter of life and death. People who use drugs and alcohol to cope with conditions like depression or bipolar disorder, put themselves at risk of overdose. Mental health conditions that are not treated can lead people to make rash decisions out of despair. After living with the uphill battle of mental illness for years—whether it be addiction, depression or both—many choose to take their own life. It is paramount that people who need help, get the assistance they desperately require.

A Permanent Solution… 

In the field of mental health, suicide is commonly referred to as finding a permanent solution to a temporary problem. But with aid of treatment, such finality can be avoided. In addition to September being National Recovery Month, it is also the National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) would like to use the month of September to “promote resources and awareness around the issues of suicide prevention, how you can help others and how to talk about suicide without increasing the risk of harm.”

The organization points out just how serious suicide prevention is, drawing from a number of statistics:
  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • Of the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, often spurred on by mental health symptoms.
NAMI is asking that everyone do their part to help promote awareness of suicide prevention resources and promote discussion of suicide prevention awareness. If you’d like, you can share the image below on social media, using #suicideprevention or #StigmaFree.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer a full continuum of care including: Acute Medical Detoxification, Rehabilitation, Residential, Partial Hospitalization and Recovery Residences.

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat 866.273.0868 to begin the journey of recovery.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Helping Others Find Recovery

National Recovery Month
In any given city or town in the United States, one can find a 12-Step meeting of recovery. Behind the closed doors, recovering addicts and alcoholics form circles and share their experience, strength and hope with one another. They do so anonymously, without fears of judgement or scrutiny. While everyone’s story is unique in its own way, people in recovery share many similarities with one another. There is hardly a thing that can be shared by one that will shock the other people in the circle.

Those who actively work a program find both comfort and strength through a common understanding that we are all in this together. Individual recovery depends upon working together with others who are trudging the road to a happy destiny—free from the vice-like grip of drugs and alcohol. A loose translation of the South African idea known as Ubuntu is as follows, ‘I am, because of you.’ It would seem that the 12-Steps of recovery have a lot in common with the “human-ness” concept of Ubuntu. And, just as all humans are connected through a universal bond, so too are the people who make a choice every day to better their lives in recovery. Only by helping others recover from substance use disorder, can you keep your own recovery.

Addiction Into The Light

The major reason for the anonymous aspect of 12-Step programs is the stigma which has long accompanied addiction. Verily, most people have little knowledge of the nature of addiction. It is an ignorance that perpetuates the need for anonymity. Even in recovery, addicts and alcoholics can be subject to reproach by the peers. Most people struggle to understand why you can’t drink like the rest, or why you would need to sit in a circle for an hour every day in order to abstain from using mind altering substances.

Fortunately, there are people all over the world who have made it their mission to break the stigma of addiction, with the hope that everyone who needs help will seek it. Many addicts and alcoholics prolong their chemical tenure because they do not want to be seen by others as having a problem that is beyond their control. Those working in the field of addiction know all too well that the longer one puts off recovery, the greater the chances that their disease will cut their life short. It is paramount that those who are active in their addiction find encouragement, not just from friends and family, but from society—to seek help and find recovery.

Join The Voices of Recovery 

In September we observe National Recovery Month. It is an important time of the year for everyone working a program and working in the field of addiction medicine. For 27 years, the month has been dedicated to raising awareness about addiction and other forms of debilitating mental health disorders. What’s more, National Recovery Month is about breaking the stigma of addiction, letting people know that recovery is possible and how to achieve it.

The theme this year is, Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery! Both people working a program and their families are being encouraged to share their story, with the hope that it will inspire millions of people to seek addiction treatment services. Addiction recovery should not have to exist in the shadows any longer, the stakes are too high. If you would like to share your personal story and successes in order to encourage others, please click here.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer a full continuum of care including: Acute Medical Detoxification, Rehabilitation, Residential, Partial Hospitalization and Recovery Residences.

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat 866.273.0868 to begin the journey of recovery.