Addiction is defined as a physical and psychological dependence on a mind-altering substance or behavior (such as gambling, internet, gaming, eating, or sex addiction) or as the compulsive us and dependence on a psychoactive substance or behavior. Addiction is a cluster of physiological, behavioral and cognitive phenomena that develops after repeated use or action.
Addiction can includes the following elements:
- A strong desire or sense of compulsion to take the substance or engage in the behavior
- Difficulties in controlling substance-taking or other behavior in terms of its onset, termination or levels of use
- A physiological withdrawal state when substance use or behavior has ceased or have been reduced, as evidenced by the characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance or behavior, or use of the same (or closely related) substance or behavior with the intention of relieving or avoiding withdrawal symptoms
- Evidence of tolerance, such that increased doses of the psychoactive substance or increased behavior are required in order to achieve effects originally produced by lower doses or less time in the behavior or less intensity of the behavior (clear examples of this are found in substance related alcohol- and opiate-dependent individuals who may take daily doses sufficient to incapacitate or kill non-tolerant users)
- Progressive neglect of alternative pleasures or interests because of psychoactive substance use or behavior, increased amount of time necessary to obtain or take the substance or to recover from its effects
- Persisting with substance use or behavior despite clear evidence of overtly harmful consequences, for example -
- lack of connection in interpersonal relationships,
- harm to the liver through excessive drinking,
- depressive mood states consequent to periods of heavy substance use,
- drug-related impairment of cognitive functioning,
- loss and damage to relationships,
- spending all of your paycheck towards a substance or a behavior,
- excessive weight gain,
- not sleeping for long periods of time to spend time on internet or gaming;
Efforts should be made to determine that the user was actually, or could be expected to be, aware of the nature and extent of the harm.
Is recovery from addiction possible?
Yes! Through a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.
Four major dimensions that support a life in recovery:
- Health: overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) as well as living in a physically and emotionally healthy way;
- Home: a stable and safe place to live;
- Purpose: meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income and resources to participate in society; and
- Community: relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love and hope.
NAMI recognizes that other organizations have drawn distinctions between what diagnoses are considered “mental health conditions” as opposed to “mental illnesses.” We intentionally use the terms “mental health conditions” and “mental illness/es” interchangeably.
A mental illness is a condition that affects a person's thinking, feeling, behavior or mood. These conditions deeply impact day-to-day living and may also affect the ability to relate to others. If you have — or think you might have — a mental illness, the first thing you must know is that you are not alone. Mental health conditions are far more common than you think, mainly because people don’t like to, or are scared to, talk about them. However:
- 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
- 1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
- 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
- 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
A mental health condition isn’t the result of one event. Research suggests multiple, linking causes. Genetics, environment and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events. Biochemical processes and circuits and basic brain structure may play a role, too.
None of this means that you’re broken or that you, or your family, did something “wrong.” Mental illness is no one’s fault. And for many people, recovery — including meaningful roles in social life, school and work — is possible, especially when you start treatment early and play a strong role in your own recovery process.
Is recovery from mental illness possible?
According to rethink.org
, yes, you can recover from mental illness. Recovery means different things to different people. Personal recovery is about working towards something that is important to you. And having hope for the future.
What is recovery?
There are 2 different meanings for recovery.
- clinical recovery, and
- personal recovery.
But there is often an overlap between them.
Your doctor might have talked to you about ‘recovery’. Some doctors and health professionals think of recovery as no longer having mental health symptoms. Sometimes this is called ‘clinical recovery’.
Dealing with symptoms is important to a lot of people. But we think recovery is wider than this, we call it ‘personal recovery.’
Personal recovery means that you are able to live a meaningful life.
Personal recovery is individual to you. What is important to you, is likely to be different to what is important to someone else.
Don’t be afraid to think about what you would like to do and work towards that goal.
Below are some ways you can think of recovery.
- Taking steps to get closer to where you would like to be.
- Feeling part of the local community.
- Achieving something that you found difficult to do. Such as getting out of the house.
- Feeling able to look in the mirror and feel comfortable with who and what you see.
- Liking yourself.
- Thinking more positively.
- Feeling settled with your treatment plan.
- Feeling in more control of your emotions.
- Having a better social life.
- Being able to have a healthy relationship.
- Having hope for the future.
Recovery is an ongoing process. It is normal to have difficulties or setbacks along the way. You could describe yourself as ‘recovered’ at any stage in your recovery if you feel things are better than they were before.
What can help me recover?
You will recover in your own way. There is no right or wrong way, it is personal. Some people call this process a ‘recovery journey’.
The following areas may be helpful for you to explore as part of your recovery journey.
- Support groups
- NHS treatment
Recovery-oriented Guiding Principles
- Recovery emerges from hope: The belief that recovery is real provides the essential and motivating message of a better future – that people can and do overcome the internal and external challenges, barriers, and obstacles that confront them.
- Recovery is person-driven: Self-determination and self-direction are the foundations for recovery as individuals define their own life goals and design their unique path(s).
- Recovery occurs via many pathways: Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, culture and backgrounds, including trauma experiences that affect and determine their pathway(s) to recovery. Abstinence is the safest approach for those with substance use disorders.
- Recovery is holistic: Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.
- Recovery is supported by peers and allies: Mutual support and mutual aid groups, including the sharing of experiential knowledge and skills, as well as social learning, play an invaluable role in recovery
- Recovery is supported through relationship and social networks: An important factor in the recovery process is the presence and involvement of people who believe in the person’s ability to recover; who offer hope, support and encouragement; and who also suggest strategies and resources for change.
- Recovery is culturally based and influenced: Culture and cultural background in all of its diverse representations, including values, traditions, and beliefs, are keys in determining a person’s journey and unique pathway to recovery.
- Recovery is supported by addressing trauma: Services and supports should be trauma-informed to foster safety (physical and emotional) and trust, as well as promote choice, empowerment and collaboration.
- Recovery involves individual, family and community strengths and responsibility: Individuals, families and communities have strengths and resources that serve as a foundation for recovery.
- Recovery is based on respect: Community, systems, and societal acceptance and appreciation for people affected by mental health and substance use problems – including protecting their rights and eliminating discrimination – are crucial in achieving recovery.
Community Support Groups
Community Support Groups are organizations such as, but not limited to...
AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)
Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem. AA uses the 12 step group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole. (aa.org)
NA (Narcotics anonymous)
A Narcotics Anonymous group is any meeting of two or more recovering addicts who meet regularly at a specific time and place for the purpose of recovery from the disease of addiction. All Narcotics Anonymous groups are bound by the principles of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of NA. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry the message of recovery to the addict who still suffers. It is important to remember our primary purpose so that addicts who come to their first meeting can relate and identify with others at the meeting (na.org)
CMA (Crystal meth anonymous)
Crystal Meth Anonymous is a fellowship of people who share their experience, strength and hope with each other, so they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from addiction to crystal meth. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using. There are no dues or fees for CMA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. CMA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; and neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to lead a sober life and to carry the message of recovery to the crystal meth addict who still suffers. (crystalmeth.org)
( SAMHSA) recovery coaches walk side by side with individuals seeking recovery from substance use disorders. They help people to create their own recovery plans, and develop their own recovery pathways. Recovery coaches provide many different types of support, including
- emotional (empathy and concern)
- informational (connections to information and referrals to community resources that support health and wellness)
- instrumental (concrete supports such as housing or employment)
- affiliational support (connections to recovery community supports, activities, and events)
Recovery plans and other supports are customized, and build on each individual’s strengths, needs, and recovery goals.
Peer supports are people who have been successful in the recovery process who help others experiencing similar situations. Through shared understanding, respect, and mutual empowerment, peer support workers help people become and stay engaged in the recovery process and reduce the likelihood of relapse. Peer support services can effectively extend the reach of treatment beyond the clinical setting into the everyday environment of those seeking a successful, sustained recovery process.
QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention is a 1-2 hour educational program designed to teach lay and professional "gatekeepers" the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond.
Movie nights, sports viewing, outings in the community, any activity for individuals to socialize with one another.
Access to Computers and Wifi
Access provided to look for a job, type a resume, learn how to bank online, or for individuals that do not have access to computers in their home.
Community Resource Training
Educate individuals on resources available in the community behavioral health assistance, medical care, housing, insurance, clothing, thrift stores, assistance programs.
Receive education and information on addiction and mental health challenges.
Re-entry Services Following Incarceration
It's a challenging transition from incarceration back into the community. The Department of Corrections Re-entry Center has partnered with the Center for Hope and refers individuals to the Center for Hope services, resources, activities, and training for a successful transition into the community.