National Recovery Month being observed

Everyone has problems. Everyone falls short. Everyone has experienced loss, grief, love, joy. Many have faced catastrophic illness. And many have suffered mental illness, or the chaos and destruction of substance abuse or a combination of the two. How easily one can be distracted from the path of order and peace and struggle to once again get a toe-hold on solid ground.

September is National Recovery Month with roots dating back nearly 30 years, the purpose being to educate Americans that substance abuse treatment and mental health services can help people with those very issues to regain their life of good health and contentedness.

The message, advises SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), is that “behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.”

Mental disorders are those things that affect how we process information, mood, and behavior in our relationships with others, how we make our choices: deep anxiety, extreme mood changes, inappropriate behaviors and loss of ability to focus. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders, followed by depressive disorders, according to SAMHSA. They can happen at any age, with specific disorders occurring at particular ages. A person can suffer more than one at a time.

Serious mental illness includes major depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which cause serious dysfunction that prevents the individual from coping with everyday life, performing those everyday chores we all have. These are the people who may be unemployed, are arrested, and may have inadequate housing.

Serious emotional disturbances are found in children and youth whose function is so impaired they struggle at school, at home, and in their communities.

Then there are substance use disorders themselves. Health problems, disability and the inability to handle responsibilities are involved.

Data from 2014 reports that 21.5 million Americans age 12 and older had a substance use disorder: 2.6 million had alcohol and drug disorders; 4.5 million, drugs but not alcohol; and 14.4 million, alcohol but not drugs. It also was reported that 7.9 million adults had a substance use disorder co-occurring with a mental disorder.

It is hard to imagine what people in recovery suffer if we have never experienced it or watched someone we love and care about suffer through it. But we all have a stake in recovery in our community, making neighborhoods healthy and safe. Knowledge and understanding are a good step forward to “hate the sin, not the sinner,” and encourage and support those in recovery, sending the message that the battles they face will be worth their fight when they are on the other side of their situation, when they are reaching to achieve and succeed after addiction.

For more information about substance use disorders and related family issues, contact Family Recovery Center.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, FRC is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.