The 3rd annual Addiction Awareness Week, UK, runs from the 28th of October through to 4th of November 2023. This year’s theme is ‘Everybody knows somebody’. Led by the campaign ‘Taking Action on Addiction’; spearheaded by the charity ‘The Forward Trust.’
Addiction is a global problem. An estimated 36 million people struggled with a drug use disorder last year. Alcohol is associated with almost 3 million deaths annually. Gambling is a global problem affecting up to 6% of the population, in some countries.
With those sorts of statistics, the chances are you will know someone who is in active addiction, or is in recovery from a substance use disorder, alcoholism, or another disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorder. It could be a friend or a colleague. Maybe it is closer to home, and you or a family member live with this chronic illness.
Addiction is NOT a choice. No-one would choose to be an addict, it is painful, miserable, lonely, and debilitating. It is a serious mental health disorder that can happen to anyone irrespective of age, class, ethnicity, or gender.
Addiction is a devastating mental health illness that impacts the user and everyone around them. It is characterised as not having control over the use of a substance or the participation in an activity, to the point where it is harmful.
Certain individuals are more predisposed to addiction than others. This could be because of a family history of addiction or underlying mental health problems. Those who have suffered from trauma and abuse or persons who are isolated and without a support network, may turn to substances or a behaviour as a coping mechanism. The more risk factors a person has, the higher the chance of developing a mental health condition such as alcoholism, drug and process addiction, depression, or anxiety.
It can happen to anyone, there is no stereotypical addict, they come from all walks of life, with differing experiences, diverse histories, and distinct back stories. The similarity is the destruction and damage their disease has wrecked upon themselves and all those around them.
If someone you love is an addict it can put an enormous strain on your relationship with them. Having to watch someone hurt themselves continually, make disastrous and even dangerous decisions that have serious consequences for them, or for you and your family, is exhausting and painful. It is incredibly difficult to understand and accept, and it can take a huge mental and physical toll on you.
Happily, with the right help and assistance there is a solution – recovery from active addiction is possible. Loved ones often play a huge part in helping those individuals they care for, get started on their journey of recovery and can lend support and encouragement throughout.
There is so much information available about the disease of addiction and recovery – who it affects, how it manifests itself, the potential triggers, possible relapse, support vs enablement. It is always worth finding out more about what you, and your loved one is dealing with, what help is available and the multitude of different treatment methods.
No two addicts are the same, which means they will all have different experiences and different journeys. However, there are some fundamental basics that do not change.
If you are concerned about yourself, or that someone you love may have a problem with addiction, here are some common signs to look out for.
If you think that you might be misusing substances, or participating in compulsive and addictive behaviours, then there is plenty of help available. In the first instance try speaking with your local GP or Doctor; or phoning a helpline to get some advice.
There are addiction rehabilitation services available privately and through community-based programmes such as The Forward Trust, We Are With You (formerly Addaction), as well as many peer support organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Gamblers Anonymous (GA), and SMART Recovery.
Many people find talking to a counsellor or therapist hugely beneficial. Being a problem drinker can be incredibly lonely, and very isolating, having someone to talk to about the underlying emotions and feelings that are associated with the alcohol abuse, can be a key step in taking action to resolve the issue.
Day care courses, out-patient drop-in centres and fellowship meetings such as AA, NA, and GA, offer a protected and secure environment for many. Attendance at weekly or daily meetings provide much needed support.
For some, residential rehab may prove to be the best option. It gives the individual a chance to get away from any day-to-day issues and enables them to fully focus on their recovery. A well-established private rehab centre, or specialised addiction clinic will use a combination of therapy models to treat an individual’s primary and co-occurring conditions.
The premise of #AddictionAwarenessWeek is to improve understanding, reduce prejudice, and tackle the stigma surrounding addiction. The main event for #AAW2023, is ‘Let’s Talk About Addiction’, a free online webinar, ‘Taking Action on Addiction’ is hosting.
‘Taking Action on Addiction’ is a campaign spearheaded by the charity ‘The Forward Trust.’ Launched in 1991 with a keynote speech from one of the charity’s patron’s, HRH the Princess of Wales.
The Forward Trust is a national charitable organisation that empowers people to break free from the cycles of addiction or crime. Formerly RAPt (the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust), was established in 1991 by Peter Bond, Jonathan Wallace and Michael Meakin, who set up the charity to meet the needs of drug addicts in UK prisons. Ibiza Calm’s Managing Director, John McKeown, was with RAPt for the first 6 years as Clinical Manager, involved in developing some of the very first drug rehabilitation programmes in UK prisons.
Here at our luxury rehab centre, set on the idyllic Balearic Island of Ibiza, we treat clients struggling with alcoholism, addiction, and substance abuse, as well as other underlying and co-occurring mental health conditions such as trauma, anxiety and depression.
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