Substance disorders affect one’s entire family. Family members and friends play an invaluable role in helping individuals recover from substance disorders.
Alcoholism and drug dependency are not moral weaknesses or gross defects in character – long term dependence on substances (addiction) is a disease.1
From 20 to 50% of persons suffering from an addiction disorder also have a mental illness. These individuals are self-medicating to ease the pain of mental illness and cope with mental illness symptoms.
Recovery is best achieved by treating both the mental illness and substance disorder as primary disorders that need to be treated immediately and concurrently.
Addiction disorders increase the risk of diseases such as hepatitis, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases. Persons with addiction disorders are at increased risks of serious and fatal violence to oneself and others, traffic accidents, homelessness, loss of meaningful relationships, and inability to work or attend school.
According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “…alcohol and drug abuse are among the highest predictors of dangerousness to self and others—even without any co-occurring mental disorder… these threats must be taken seriously.”
Recovery from substance disorders is possible for everyone. Recovery is possible through self-management, psychosocial support, medical assistance, and peer support. Abstinence is at the heart of recovery. Effective treatment engages participants in a long term treatment process that helps them maintain abstinence.