September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. Alcoholics and drug addicts who are no long are actively using or drinking will often tell people they are recovering rather than reformed or cured. This is because addiction is a lifelong condition. Patients who are recovering alcoholics or drug addicts work very hard to refrain from going back to the destructive path they were once on. It is important that people become aware of the difficulties associated with using drugs or consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, to know that there are options available to help with quitting, and that there are support programs to help them stay sober.
Prevention must start in early childhood. Schools can use this month to teach students about the dangers of drinking and using drugs. Numerous community outreach programs are willing to come into schools to give presentations. Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Students Against Destructive Decisions are two of the most well-known. Therapists, drug counselors, or sponsors from Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous may also be willing to present to individual classes or school assemblies. To promote conversation and understanding consider sponsoring contests or competitions among the students to raise awareness of the problems associated with drug and alcohol abuse.
Any medical profession regularly in contact with the general population is in the perfect position to discuss cessation methods with their clients. Therapists and nurses can place posters showing the effects of smoking, drug use, or alcohol abuse and provide information to treatment centers. Pharmacies can provide brochures or display posters discussing the dangers of abusing prescription medications and the warning signs that dependency may be evolving.
Offer to let support groups place literature in your office or possibly hold meetings after hours in your facility. Physical therapist can offer to teach relaxation techniques to members who need alternative ways to deal with stressful situations. Ask groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous what you can do to help reach more of your patients who may be suffering in silence.
Health care professionals have a high instance of substance abuse because of the easy availability at work and high levels of stress associated with having a career in caring for others. If you or someone you work with has developed a dependency on drugs or alcohol, it is important to seek medical assistance. Your coworkers and others in the medical field understand the temptations and will be able to support you, or those you work with. Alcohol and drug addiction happen across income, social, and ethnic groups. Recovery is just as possible and important for healthcare professionals as it is for the patients they serve.
How do you help your patients with their recovery? Do you think drug prevention strategies are important in schools? Do you think it is more difficult for educators and healthcare professionals to seek and receive treatment?