Did you know that September marks the 25th anniversary of Recovery Month- a month dedicated to spreading the awareness about treatments to aid in addiction recovery? Sadly, I am no stranger to the damaging effect addiction can have on a family. I won’t get into too many details to protect the privacy of those in my life dealing with it, but let’s just say I’ve been up close and way too personal to addiction.
Here’s the thing about addiction: it not only takes over your entire life, but that of your family and even your friends. Addiction recovery is possible (I’ve seen it!), but it can’t be done alone. Likewise, overcoming the effects it has on your life as a loved one also can’t be done alone. Trust me, I know. I’ve been seeing a therapist for years, partially for my anxiety disorder and partially to get past my feelings of being close to several loved ones with addiction issues.
I am telling you this because I am passionate about removing the stigma that some people feel comes along with seeking a little outside help when it comes to mental health issues and addiction recovery. Honestly, I encourage everyone to see a therapist, even if just to get all the stuff off your chest that you can’t say to others! It’s very cathartic.
Addiction recovery: the right therapist makes ALL the difference
When it comes to addiction recovery, the right therapist and type of therapy is pretty much the most important aspect of getting help with recovery. One thing I heard often from my loved ones with addiction was: how can someone help me when they don’t know how it feels to be addicted to something?
Here’s the thing: a heart surgeon doesn’t need to know how it feels to have a heart attack to be efficient. An orthopedic doctor doesn’t need to break a leg to know how to fix one. Likewise, an addiction recovery counselor or mental health professional doesn’t need to experience addiction to understand how to help. What DO all of these professionals need? Empathy and a good education.
While empathy is something you either have or don’t have, a good education comes from the right school. Adelphi University understands how important mental health professionals are to society. They are passionate about educating current and future mental health professionals and social workers. In their recent Addiction and Treatment Trends poll conducted by the Center for Health Innovation, they took the time to find out not only what therapists want for their substance-dependent patients, but what the patients want as well.
The results of the poll showed that the majority of patients in recovery want to learn to completely abstain from the substance they are addicted to, while about a third of patients just want to learn to reduce the harm from the substance. The poll also examined the common barriers between patients and their therapy. Why is this so important? It speaks to the level of commitment to not only providing more mental health workers to the community, but also to making sure those professionals understand the needs and expectations of their patients.
We as a society NEED more professionals who truly understand and care about the emotional well-being of their patients. It seems like addiction is becoming more of an issue with every passing day. In my area alone, we have a massive opiate addiction epidemic. If you’ve ever even thought of becoming a mental health professional, now is the time to really delve into that possibility. I encourage you to research careers in mental health at Adelphi.edu and learn how you can start a career helping others.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Adelphi University. The opinions and text are all mine.