Where there is life there is hope
September is Recovery Month, a national observance held to promote and support treatment/ recovery practices, a strong/proud community in recovery, and service providers dedicated to recovery in all forms possible. In the spirit of Recovery Month let us recognize millions of people in the United States living with addiction and celebrate those who are trying and/or succeeding in putting addiction in their rear view. For a year and a half, the pandemic has placed upon us a new way of living and introduced a variety of unknowns resulting in added stress, anxiety, depression, isolation, etc.; these emotions take a huge toll on individuals struggling with addiction and those working to stay in recovery which unfortunately increases the risk of relapse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, data shows overdose deaths accelerated during the pandemic. More than 93,000 drug overdose deaths were estimated to have occurred in the United States last year which is the highest number ever recorded in a twelve-month period and a 30% increase (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the map below illustrates by individual state.
Unfortunately, the pandemic made peer supports such as 12 step and Smart recovery groups much more difficult but as time has passed we have established new ways of altering healthcare and support to create opportunities to reach many with resources, services, and recovery support systems via telehealth/remote visits. While online meetings/support, doctor visits, and therapy sessions may pose as a challenge for some due to altering the full in person experience, the option for accessing these resources online is aiding in the adaptation to restrictions that we as a society never saw coming and as a result care is being provided for so many.
We are a little over a year and a half since Covid was declared a global pandemic and although there are still a lot of unknowns that include worries, financial hardships, unknowns in general, and stress this time period has opened the door for many useful conversations about mental health and addiction; thankfully these hard conversations are leading to increased awareness which is aiding in decreasing the stigma surrounding mental health and addiction. This month, as we continue to raise awareness and support this community lets embrace recovery, encourage, support, and lift up those who are seeking it, engaging in it, and doing the hard work! I want to personally encourage you if you are struggling with mental health and/or addiction to seek treatment and relate to others who share in your experiences. If you or someone you know would like help with mental health and/or addiction, getting to the root of it, and maintaining recovery please don’t hesitate to reach out. You are worth it!!
SAMHSA National Helpline: 1-800-662-4357
Therapeutic Counseling & Consulting: 804-322-9955
Jesse C. Baumgartner and David C. Radley, “The Drug Overdose Mortality Toll in 2020 and Near-Term Actions for Addressing It, “To The Point (blog), Commonwealth Fund, July 15, 2021.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021, September 7). COVID-19 & substance use. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/comorbidity/covid-19-substance-use.
Written by: Jami Smithson, LPC-R, September 20, 2021