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Drug and alcohol recovery month observed

September 26, 2010
By PAT ROSS, Administrative Assistant, Columbiana County MHRS Board

Each September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA's) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment sponsors National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.

The celebration focuses on improving the lives of those suffering from substance abuse through treatment and recovery.

While many people achieve recovery, there is still a need to continue to educate people about addiction and motivate those who may have a problem to seek help.

The theme for the 2010 celebration is "Join the Voices for Recovery: Now More Than Ever!, emphasizes the increase of stress in our society. It addresses how stress and other external circumstances can contribute to the onset and relapse of substance use disorders, and highlights specific groups affected by these stressors.

Stressful experiences may increase the vulnerability of some to turn to addictive substances for relief or to relapse, even after prolonged abstinence. Stress is a common issue and results in an estimated 75 to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians. The following groups are particularly prone to experiencing stress:

Public Safety Officials include those in the military, police, and fire personnel who have careers in which they frequently put their lives at risk for the safety of others.

People in the Workforce can feel greatly stressed especially with current economic conditions. Worrying about whether they will keep their jobs is especially difficult for those in recovery from substance use disorders. Some may relapse while others may begin to use alcohol or drugs to relieve the stress.

Older adults often find retirement stressful as they transition to new stages in life. Substance use disorders have become more prevalent among middle aged and older adults and continue to become a greater public health issue as the baby boomers reach retirement age. Among people ages 50 to 59, reported use of illicit drugs has nearly doubled since 2002.

Families face many challenges today including illness, marital strain, financial problems, internal conflicts, and emotional or physical abuse. These obstacles create stress that can contribute to increased alcohol or drug use.

It is important to know that people who misuse alcohol or drugs can and do recover. Stress may negatively influence treatment effectiveness and can contribute to relapse even for individuals and families in long-term recovery. Treatment and self-help groups assist people in recovery to develop healthy ways to cope with stress.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you go about your daily routine:

Simplify your life: Figure out which activities are really important in your life, and manage the time you have allotted to them wisely. Learn to say "no" to activities that are not necessary.

Be prepared: Anticipate any challenges that may arise at work or with your immediate family; learn to delegate, and if necessary, allow extra time for projects so that they are manageable and don't become overwhelming.

Live a healthy lifestyle: Exercise regularly to reduce tension, and eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These food increase energy and help keep stress under control.

Keep the lines of communication open: Let co-workers and family members know when you are feeling over-stressed. Don't be afraid to ask for their help. Keeping your feelings inside will only add more to your stress.

For more information, call the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board at 330-424-0195, or check out the Board's website:



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