National Recovery Month is so much more than people talking about getting sober. Recovery Month celebrates the struggle of recovery and acknowledges those who help others through that recovery. It is also about recovery from other types of addictions and mental health disorders.
Unfortunately, there are many types of addiction and mental illness that plague people, and we want to help people suffering from any kind of substance abuse or mental health issue. Process addictions, such as eating disorders, are disrupting the lives of millions of Americans. Most of us know of anorexia (starving oneself) and bulimia (binge eating and purging), but there is a range of eating disorders that different people may have. There are also addictions to gambling, to sex, and to eating. Shopping addictions, hoarding, and Internet addictions are also becoming more prevalent.
These types of process addictions, though not involving a substance that the body begins to depend on, are just as addicting as drugs or alcohol. Many of these kind of addictions alter the chemistry of the brain, leaving the addict craving more. Other addictions stem from a mental health disorder, such as depression or an anxiety disorder, which causes the addict to rely on an activity (such as hoarding) to fill a void or meet a need in their lives. Treatment can be very similar to drug and alcohol treatment, as a person learns through therapy, counseling, and support groups how to live without their addiction.
Mental Health Disorders
Mental health issues also plague many Americans. These disorders are often misinterpreted because they often go hand in hand with substance abuse. Someone suffering from depression, sleeplessness, or anxiety may require professional help to get better. Sometimes the disorder will require medication to manage, and other times therapy and counseling can help. It is important for someone with a mental health problem to get help before their condition worsens, because these can tend to escalate and can quickly lead to other things, like drug or alcohol abuse, other mental health problems, and suicidal thoughts.
Both process addictions and mental health disorders are widely misunderstood. People suffering in this way are often looked down on because they don’t fit in, and behaviorally they are not accepted. Recovery Month is a time to create awareness for not only drug and alcohol abuse, but also other addictions and mental health disorders. These is hope for recovery, but a person must find the right treatment to meet their needs. There are several high quality facilities that offer programs that deal with these lesser known disorders and many people have successfully recovered from their process addiction or mental health disorder.
This month, as we celebrate the recovery of the millions who overcame drug abuse or alcoholism, let’s also remember the struggles with other addictions and mental health problems. If you or someone you know has an addiction or mental health problem, get help right away. Let this month be the month that you find help.