September Is National Recovery Month

September Is National Recovery Month

Celebrate alcohol and drug recovery

This September marks the 25th annual National Recovery Month, a national observance to increase awareness about how addiction treatment and mental health services can help people struggling with substance abuse. This year’s theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak up, Reach Out” and encourages people to speak openly about drug and alcohol abuse and mental health disorders.

Drug and alcohol addiction is a serious disease that impacts millions of people and their loved ones. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, (SAMHSA), approximately 22.7 million individuals over the age of 12 are struggling with drugs or alcohol.

Although many people have reached long-term recovery through effective addiction treatment, countless others aren’t getting the help they need. SAMHSA estimates that less than 1 percent of those struggling with substance abuse receive help at a specialized addiction treatment facility.

According to Psychology Today, both internal and external barriers exist that can deter a person from seeking treatment for substance abuse and addiction. Examples of interior barriers to treatment include:

  • The stigma attached to being labeled as an “alcoholic” or a “drug addict”
  • Psychological distress, such as depression and anxiety, that produces a lack of motivation among individuals seeking treatment
  • Personal beliefs such as religion, denial, the idea that treatment isn’t needed, and that they can quit on their own

Examples of external barriers to treatment include:

  • Time conflicts due to family and household obligations and being unable to take a leave of absence from work for treatment
  • Treatment accessibility, such as not knowing where to go for treatment, having difficulty getting to and from treatment, and not understanding addiction treatment options
  • Financial barriers, including the inability to pay or the lack of insurance coverage for treatment

National Recovery Month emphasizes that despite any barriers or roadblocks in the way, recovery from addiction is possible. Millions of people struggle with drug and alcohol abuse every day, and for many their addiction will go unnoticed and untreated until they hit “rock bottom” and it becomes a life-threatening problem.

Millions of lives have been transformed through addiction and mental health treatment. National Recovery Month aims to be a way to celebrate those victories as well as encourage people to openly speak about addiction, mental health issues, and the reality of recovery.

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