As our understanding of addiction grows, so, too, does the need for addiction awareness. Addiction is often heavily stigmatized and rarely spoken about in society. It's common to believe that someone with an addiction just has a moral failing, or that it's their fault that they are struggling. This is not the case, as anyone, no matter who they are, can develop an addiction. These myths and stigmas prevent people from getting the help they require to recover, necessitating the need for addiction awareness.
Pathways Wellness Center understands that there are many people out there who are struggling with their addiction, but they are afraid to admit that they need help. Thus, Pathways works hard to promote addiction awareness through education, therapy, and participation in the community.
Addiction awareness means educating individuals and the public about the nature of addiction, substance use disorder (SUD), and the people it affects. The four main focuses for addiction awareness are as follows:
Who is at risk for addiction: This part of addiction awareness brings attention to those who may be most at risk for developing an addiction. Several factors determine risk, such as age, sex, gender identity, economic background, environment, mental health, peer pressure, and genetics.
What causes addiction: This focus brings attention to why people become addicted to substances and drugs in the first place. It goes over how chemical, psychological, and behavioral addictions affect the brain and its ability to function. The public should also learn that it's not easy to just “stop” an addiction, and sometimes withdrawal effects can be very dangerous.
Destigmatizing addiction: This aspect of addiction awareness is necessary to educate the public and individuals about the stigma of addiction and why it is so harmful. Debunking common addiction myths is also part of this education. It's also important to learn how to dismantle these harmful myths and stigmas in your everyday life.
How to recover from addiction: This crucial part of addiction awareness is to encourage those who may be struggling or know those who are struggling, to find help. It gives hope to those who have difficulty seeing the end of their journey and encourages them to keep working toward recovery. It's important to know that there is hope and that anyone can recover with the right amount of help.
Pathways Wellness Center primarily brings addiction awareness to the public by offering psychoeducation. This is education specific to mental health and its various disorders. Psychoeducation is part of most client treatment plans by utilizing family therapy. This type of therapy involves a client and their family. The goal is to educate them about the truth of addiction and teach them how to support their loved one who is working on recovery.
This education is very important, as many people, especially those of an older generation, often mistrust other sources of information if it didn't come from a professional. Even then, some may be stubborn and refuse to change how they think. Family therapy helps individuals confront these harmful thinking patterns and change them. It allows them to not only better understand and support their loved one, but it changes how they function as a family.
This knowledge can then spread outwards to other family members and other loved ones. Sometimes it can take a single person to change the minds of other people. When it comes to destigmatizing addiction, it helps nurture kinder and more understanding people.
People are also welcome to enroll in individualized therapy at Pathways Wellness Center. This is helpful for those who want to support someone with an addiction but don't know how to do so. It can also help someone recognize their harmful thinking that may perpetuate stigmatization.
Pathways is also open to questions from anyone about addiction and its treatment. If you would like to ask a question, you can contact the center by calling or sending an email. People are also invited to visit our treatment facility to see for themselves how addiction is treated. There, they can speak with the staff, many of whom have overcome addiction themselves. Sometimes hearing directly from those who treat addiction can show you just how important it is to be understanding and compassionate.
Change begins with yourself. If you want to help spread addiction awareness, you must first begin by looking at how you speak and act. Are you accidentally promoting stigma? Sometimes stigma is so ingrained that we don't realize that it's a part of our lives. It can take speaking with a mental health care professional to untangle harmful thinking and learn how to change them. However, it is worth the effort.
Many people with addictions will hide them. Sometimes they may decide to get help or not based on how people react to addiction around them. They are less likely to admit they need help if people around them react to addiction with disgust or judgment. Instead, strive to be an understanding and supportive person. Remind those around you that you believe in them and that everyone is deserving of help. You never know who may be internalizing the words you say.
Do your best to correct harmful stereotypes around you. If someone says something outright wrong or cruel, shut them down. For example, “No Jim, Uncle Ted isn't a bad person because he has an addiction. He is a person in need of help, and I still love him.” Don't be antagonistic, but let it be known you won't tolerate cruelty in your presence.
For more advice and tips, contact your local mental healthcare facility. They will be more than happy to point you to the resources you need to get educated about addiction awareness. If you or a loved one needs help, don't wait.
Addiction is a part of our reality, but many times, people in society are content to ignore it. However, addiction is a serious issue that affects millions of people around the globe and should not be ignored. Here at Pathways Wellness Center in Glendora, California, we believe strongly that education and awareness are important to reducing the stigma of addiction. It's a fact that many people struggling with addiction do not seek help because they are afraid of judgment. But by reaching out to educate the public and families about addiction, our goal is to encourage anyone who is struggling to get help. If you or a loved one is living with addiction, call us today at (888) 771-0966.