Addiction as a disease and what can be done about It?

A lot of individuals ask this question, “Is addiction a disease?”  Studies confirm that the response is “Yes.” So, if addiction is a disease, what can be done about it? Discover why drug dependence and addiction falls within that category.

The Way the Brain Functions

Our brain comes with many distinct segments, and every one of those segments has significant responsibilities.  The principal areas of our brain would be the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. The amygdala is tasked to function for our survival instincts as well as habits or acts that are repeated. Since it tells us to consume food when we are hungry, as an example, the amygdala is essential.

When we ask, “Is addiction a disease?” specialists specify a disease as that of a condition that impacts a minimum of one organ. This disease then creates indicators or symptoms.  Since the brain is the organ that is affected when an individual is suffering from drug addiction and since there are lots of symptoms associated with it, then addiction can be considered as a disease.   

Among the symptoms of addiction is when the individual continues an activity no matter the effects.  Brain scans demonstrate that an individual who is suffering from drug addiction has a cortex that is malfunctioning. The tasks of our prefrontal cortex include stress modulation, attunement, impulse control, self-awareness, and decision making.

Why It’s Important to Recognize Addiction as a Disease

Addiction impacts everybody involved.  While there are those that feel guilty of what they do that continues to encourage their addiction, some might believe they can have control of their substance abuse.  That is why drug dependence treatment plans are crucial.

If you know someone who is struggling with an addiction, then, informing yourself about the illness is essential.  It is problematic for individuals when their relative or loved one proceeds to drink or use drugs in spite of the negative consequences.  There are some people who’d get mad, angry, miserable or resentful. You start to understand that you’re living with an individual who is sick when you admit that drug addiction is indeed a type of chronic illness.

How to Confront an Addiction

Someone who wants to recover from addiction should take the initial step to solve any problem which is admitting that there is an issue.  Since medical science understands that addiction is a disorder, progress and further studies help individuals recover successfully. The same as other ailments, the procedure can be helped by proven treatment approaches.  Individuals require open-mindedness, honesty and trust to start their recovery.

Addiction as a Disease

Addiction is an intricate disorder of the mind and body which entails compulsive use of particular substances despite severe health and societal effects.  Addiction interrupts areas of the brain which are responsible for motivation, reward, learning, memory and judgment. It hurts families, in addition to health issues, problems with school, work, and other areas of an addict’s life.

Why Addiction is a Disease

Addiction is characterized as a disorder by many medical institutions. Like diabetes, obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, drug addiction is brought on by a combination of behavioural, biological, and environmental aspects. There are also other risk factors that make one person more prone to addiction than another.

Addiction entails changes in the operation of the body and brain.  These modifications might be caused by substance use that was insecure or might pre-exist. The results of untreated addiction frequently consist of other bodily and mental health ailments that need medical care.  Dependence grows more intense, disabling, and life-threatening if left untreated over time.

How does Drug Use Change the Brain?

Individuals feel delighted when basic needs like hunger, thirst, and sex are met.  Typically, the discharge of certain substances in the brain causes these feelings of enjoyment.  Addictive compounds induce the mind to release elevated levels of the substances which are connected with benefit or pleasure.

With the years, continued release of those chemicals causes changes in the brain systems involved in reward, memory, and motivation.  An individual may desire the drug when these changes happen. The person may experience desires or cravings and certainly will continue to use it regardless of the harmful or damaging consequences.  

The individual might eliminate interest in life activities and may prefer using drugs instead. These changes in the individual’s brain can stay for quite a while, even after the individual stops using the drugs. The changes in the brain can leave those people who are vulnerable to environmental and physical cues to continue using drugs.

Why is Willpower not Enough to Beat Addiction?

Chronic disease is a long-term illness which may be controlled but not cured.

Approximately 25-50 percent of people who have a substance use issue seems to have a serious, chronic illness.  People with drug dependence should be aware that it is a progressive disease which needs observation, peer or family support, and therapies to handle their healing.

Nevertheless, the most acute, chronic form of the disease can be reversible and manageable, usually with long term therapy and continued observation and support for healing. The early and initial decisions to utilize substances reflect an individual’s free or conscious option.  After dependence has affected the mind, willpower or that decision-making gets diminished. The symptom of drug dependence is when there’s a loss of control over drug use.

Should We Blame Addicts for their Actions?

Many people today think addiction cannot be a disorder as it’s a result of someone’s decision to use alcohol or drugs.  While the initial use (or early phase use) might be done by choice, when the person’s brain has been affected by drugs, most experts think that the individual loses control of their behaviour.

Others assert that addiction isn’t a disease because a few people with drug dependence get better with no treatment.  People who have mild drug problems may recover without therapy or minimal treatment only.

Individuals with drug dependence shouldn’t be blamed for suffering the illness.  All people today make decisions about whether to make use of drugs. People don’t choose how their mind and body reacts to alcohol and medications. This mainly explains the reason why their drug usage cannot be controlled although some can.  

While we can’t blame addicts for their actions since addiction is a disease, individuals with drug dependence are responsible for seeking treatment and maintaining recovery.  They should be given assistance and support of friends, family and peers to remain in therapy and boost their probability of recovery and survival.

Can Drug Addiction be Treated?

Yes, addiction can be treated.  Research about treating substance use disorders and the addiction has resulted in the growth of techniques that assist people to resume productive lifestyles and to quit using drugs.

In the same way with other chronic diseases like asthma or heart disease, the available treatments for drug addiction aren’t the cure.  But drug dependence can be handled or managed. Treatment empowers people to recover control of their own lives and to counteract the negative effects on their behaviour and their mind of drug addiction.

Does Relapse Mean the Treatment Failed?

The short answer is no. This is because the nature of drug dependence means even a return to drug usage following an effort to discontinue can be a part of this procedure, but remedies are made to aid with prevention. Rates for substance use are very similar to those other conditions that are chronic.  Individuals in recovery are very likely to experience relapse if they stop going to their aftercare program.

Treatment of such chronic ailments involve altering deeply rooted behaviours, and relapse does not mean therapy has failed.  If an individual recovering from a substance addiction relapses, what it signals is that the individual must talk with their physician to resume therapy, alter it, or even try another therapy.

Even if relapse is an expected part of healing, for many substances, it may be quite dangerous–even fatal.  Since an addict’s body is adapted to a certain level of drug exposure, if they resume to using drugs after being clean for some time, these people can easily experience an overdose.  An overdose occurs when the individual uses too much of a certain substance to generate life-threatening consequences such as losing consciousness, heart attack, and others.

Basics of a Successful Treatment for Drug Addiction

Research indicates that when managing substance dependence such as opioids, medications ought to be the very first line of therapy, generally combined with certain kinds of behavioural treatment or counselling.  Medicines are available to aid the treatment of addiction to the habit of smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol as well.

Also, medications are utilized to assist individuals to detoxify from illegal substances, although detoxification isn’t similar to therapy and isn’t enough to enable someone to recover from addiction.  Detoxification on its own without treatment contributes to the resumption of substance abuse.

For those who have addictions to substances such as cannabis or stimulants, no medicine is available to help in the treatment. That being said, a big part of the treatment contains behavioural therapies.  An individual’s treatment plan ought to be specific to deal with his or her drug usage patterns and other medical, psychological, and societal issues.

Tools for Treating Drug Addiction

Various kinds of drugs could be helpful at several stages of therapy to aid a patient quit abusing drugs, remain in therapy, and prevent relapse. When patients stop using medication, they could experience various physiological and psychological symptoms, such as restlessness or insomnia, in addition to anxiety, depression, as well as a number of mental health conditions.  

Applications and some therapy medications are utilized to assist the brain as it undergoes withdrawal from the drugs.  These remedies act to also have a calming effect on the body and prevent drug cravings. They could help individuals focus on counselling and psychotherapies.

According to available studies, anxiety cues connected to substance use would be the most frequent causes of relapse.  Researchers have been creating and improving treatments to stop the causes to help individuals remain in recovery.

Therapies for Drug Addiction

Therapies aid individuals in substance addiction recovery to alter their attitudes as well as behaviours associated with drug usage.  Because of this, patients can manage causes which may trigger another relapse and stressful situations. Behavioural therapies help people stay in treatment and may improve the efficacy of medications.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy attempts to help individuals acknowledge, avoid, as well as manage all the scenarios where they are most vulnerable to go back to drug use. Contingency management utilizes positive reinforcement, for example, providing privileges or rewards for staying drug-free, for being present and engaging in counselling sessions, or even for taking therapy meds as prescribed.

Motivational enhancement therapy makes use of strategies to take advantage of people’s willingness to modify their behaviour and enter therapy. Family therapy assists people (particularly young people) who have drug use issues and improve the overall functioning of the family.

How can Addicts Recover?

Quitting drug usage is only the starting point of a lengthy and elaborate recovery procedure.  Because drug dependence can influence so many areas of an individual’s life, therapy should be able to deal with the requirements of the entire individual to become functional and productive again.  Counsellors may choose from a number of solutions that fulfill the medical, psychological, social, occupational needs, and other requirements of the patients.

How to Seek Help to Recover from Addiction?

Should you or someone you know need help with their drug dependence, it can be tough to know where to turn to.  This is because we’re scared to acknowledge the issue and request support. But doing nothing is a lot more detrimental to your psychological and emotional well-being than getting the issue out.  Therefore, in case you require assistance with drug addiction, alcohol dependence or another sort of dependence, follow the next four actions to that we’ll be sharing.

Acknowledge the Issue

We all know it’s cliche, but it’s also correct.  The very first step if you require assistance with substance abuse is to spot the issue.  It may be hard to acknowledge you have an issue or even just think that you have an addiction, although it could appear like a very simple action on the outside.

So, before you can also do so, you have to have the ability to spot the symptoms of dependence.  These could consist of cravings for alcohol or drugs, withdrawal symptoms when drug use is stopped briefly for efforts at abstinence or reduction, problems with relationships or your career, and tolerance to the substance which contributes to increased use.  Any or a combination of these signals may point to substance addiction.

Choose to Change

Once you can recognize and acknowledge you want help with your drug dependence, the next step is to make the choice to do something about it. Addicts who do not find aid fall into what’s called the “treatment gap.” These individuals do not seek a treatment plan that is ideal for them.  

Deciding to make a change is frequently the toughest step toward drug recovery. Nevertheless, this is the most essential.  You may be unsure if you’ve got what it takes to be determined to stop drug use and get better.

Committing to sobriety is a life change which needs support, patience, time, and perseverance.  Alter how you cope with anxiety and you might need to eliminate specific people and situations. From time to time these shifts are essential, which can be unnerving but is definitely worthwhile.

Find Support

Seeking assistance with addiction isn’t something you must do alone. Having a support system can improve your odds of healing successfully. Your friends and family play a part in helping you overcome your problems.  The bigger your support system, the better. This is because you’ll be assured that you’ll have a system where you can get encouragement, advice or just someone to speak to.

You’ll require a new set of friends in case your preceding circle revolved around alcohol or drugs.  Sober buddies are an excellent advantage for your addiction recovery. These may be discovered in church groups, community events, meetings and much more.  

Attending support meetings may be a fantastic way to find assistance for your own recovery since these people know just what you’re currently going through.  You may find out a great deal from the team members and what they do to keep sober.

Don’t Hesitate to Look for Professional Help

As soon as you’ve dedicated yourself to addiction recovery and place your support network, the next step is to find the support of an addiction specialist or addiction treatment centre.  No therapy program works for everybody, but if you seek assistance with drug dependence or alcohol abuse, a treatment centre puts individuals in the place for healing.

The healthcare professionals will provide a thorough approach involving detox medicine to ease the process of withdrawal.  There are group sessions and lots of physical, spiritual, and psychological treatment choices. You can talk to your doctor about how you want to approach your recovery.  

Takeaway

There’s a vast array of addiction recovery treatment facilities available, so do your homework and locate the one which is going to be the best match for you and your requirements. Taking all these first steps will be challenging, and it could take repeated attempts to reach and sustain your sobriety. But to get there, you are going to need to begin at step one and take matters from there.

Addictions Canada: The Reason Why Is Tremendously Disturbing 

Addictions in Canada has tremendous effects on the person and the Canadian society as a whole. Find the best treatments available for a fresh start to life.  

Drug addictions in Canada become a gripping issue in the country with an increasingly growing number of addicts and drug dependents shocking the country. In the broadest sense, substance abuse is the misuse or overuse of medications such as prescription drugs, alcohol, illegal drugs, and over-the-counter preparations. The dangerous use of different substance affects the life of an individual such as work or school performance, relationships and commitments, and even this brushings with the law. 

 

Drug addictions in Canada by the Numbers  

Addiction refers to the psychological dependence of an individual on the substance and using it is deemed important for social functioning. It could also refer to physiological dependence such as health problems, withdrawal symptoms, and the increased tolerance to the drug or substance of choice. According to the Mental Illness and Addiction in Canada book, there are statistical data that are just too disturbing to ignore.   

In terms of alcohol, 13.6% of Canadians are high-risk drinkers while 20% of current Canadian drinkers report that they caused harm to themselves due to alcohol intake. Thirty-three percent of these drinkers confirmed that they were harmed by someone who has been drinking. The most common health problem of heavy drinkers is depression while there are 365 babies in Canada who are born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome on an annual basis.   

The annual productivity losses that have been reported in Canada because of legal substance abuse reached a total of $11.8 billion. The figure is 1.7% of the total GNP or Gross National Product. Canada suffers a yearly economic loss of $18.6 billion due to substance abuse that occurs in the workplace.  

 

Addiction Canada Rehab Facility 

 The Canadian government has taken numerous measures and initiatives in order to address the growing problem of substance abuse and addiction in the country. There are private organizations that offer rehab facilities and treatment programs such as Addiction Canada. These are facilities that provide confidential and structured programs for their inpatient clients with the perfect setting that is conducive to recovery and treatment. You can also find government-funded rehab centers that are usually community-based.  

 

Drug Rehab and Interventions 

An intervention is a venue where the client gets to decide if he needs help or otherwise. It is not as dramatic and intense as the ones you usually see on reality television. Today’s intervention specialists act as a mediator between the substance dependent and his road towards treatment and recovery. The intervention process interrupts the use and abuse of the substance through offering an alternative for a healthier and drug-free life. Remember that a person could get intervention even without hitting rock bottom or becoming physically and emotionally wrecked. Intervention makes a person go back to reality through non-judgmental and caring support. 

The reality about Addictions Canada is not that pleasant and it is staring everyone to the face. Canada is up for an enormous challenge with the proliferation of substance abuse and addiction among Canadian youths and adults. The good news is that there are also aggressive initiatives that are taken in order to combat this personal and social conundrum once and for all. 

Prescription Drug Abuse

The Frightening Truth about Prescription Drug Abuse that Will Smash You 

Prescription drug abuse brings out the worse in people. Canada is advocating and pushing the end of addiction to prescription drugs through effective treatment initiatives.   

Prescription drug abuse is one of the substance abuse and addiction problems in Canada and the figures are not getting smaller. Prescription drug addiction and dependence has affected Canadians in different age and economic groups. As long as you are taking a medicine or drug, not for medicinal purposes or what the doctor prescribed the drug for, then you are abusing that prescription drug and the repercussions are serious.  

Prescription Drug Abuse Basic Information 

 Pain medicines are the most commonly abused prescription drugs and the list of these painkillers is quite long and diverse. Prescription drug abuse makes a person throw up, constricts or dilates the pupil, and may even cause constipation. Pain medicines are swallowed or taken orally but when they are smoked, injected, or snorted, the reaction is quite stronger and more dangerous than ever. It may lead to breathing problems or respiratory suppression and arrest.  

Prescription drug abuse may lead to: 

  • Chills 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Muscle spasms or pain in the bones 
  • Anger, nervousness, or extreme sadness 
  • Sleeping disorders 

 

Prevention and Risk Factors  

Canadians are at risk of prescription drug abuse but there are ways that could prevent this life-threatening habit especially when you have the self-control, to begin with.

Painkillers are prescribed to serve a particular purpose and that is to relieve pain due to injury or disease. Avoiding the risks of prescription drug abuse requires an individual to follow the directions or instructions from the pharmacist or what’s written on the label.  

Do not stop or change the dosage without any consultation with your doctor. Another way to prevent prescription drug abuse and addiction is to never use someone else’s prescription.

Ask the advice of the professionals such as clinicians and pharmacists. The Canadian government and other private organizations that tackle substance abuse and addiction are taking initiatives in order to put an end to this dilemma once and for all. There are treatment programs and helpline that individuals can call when their prescription drug intake is getting out of control. 

 

Basic Treatment Programs  

There are available treatment programs for drug addiction, particularly prescription drug abuse. For instance, rehab centers recommend medications and behavioural treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy and contingency management. Behavioural therapy and treatment are designed to stop drug use through altering unhealthy thinking and behavioural patterns.  

Medications can also treat prescription drug abuse and addiction particularly medications such as buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone. The main effects of these drugs are to counter the impact of opioids on the nervous system, particularly the brain. Medications also relieve the excruciating symptoms and cravings associated with the withdrawal process and help prevent relapse in the future. 

Canadians are struggling with the effects of prescription drug abuse and these effects are not limited to the physiological aspects.

Addiction to and abuse of prescription drugs could put a strain on the relationships of a person and affect the community as a whole. Prescription drug use when out of control urges the person to do illegal means and crimes just to get their fix.  

Things to avoid during recovery

The Way Forward: Personalizing Approaches to Tackle Canada’s Alcohol Problems

Alcohol has been manufactured, consumed and many times abused by people all over the world since pre-historic times. So why is it now a greater issue than it was before? There are a number of factors that played a role in this. To begin with, alcohol consumption has been normalized up to a point where very few people perceive it to be a drug. Following years and years of media exposure and societal embrace of alcohol, not even the people who do not fancy drinks are alarmed by their friends’ binge drinking.

We see it everywhere, from billboards and music videos to books, magazines and news. Everybody’s doing it, so it must be okay. What would be more distressing to see happening: a person drinking a can of beer or a person jabbing a needle into their arm? No one would have a problem with the person drinking a beer, regardless if it’s their first can or their tenth, unless they started becoming violent which is always a possibility. But alcohol abuse can be more harmful than crack or heroin abuse, according to experts, so why is there such a discrepancy when they all have in common specific chemicals meant to alter the mind and cause addiction?

Alcohol seems to be Canadians’ favourite drug: a staggering 80% of the population are drinkers. And there are a lot of factors that play a huge role in this. A 2018 international study published in the renowned publication The Lancet is alluding to the recommended drinking limits in Canada and how they are considered to be far too high. Currently, recommendations say that women should not exceed 10 drinks a week, while for men it’s 15 per week. As a comparison, in the U.S. guidelines dictate that up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men are within safety moderate drinking recommendations.

Putting recovery into perspective

In March 2018, Health Canada has issued an intention to change an existing Food and Drug Regulation aiming to restrict the level of alcohol in highly sweetened alcoholic beverages sold in cans. This followed the tragic incident of a teenager from Québec passing away after an alcohol overdose. But nevertheless, caused an immediate reaction from the government to act on and prevent such things from happening. When it comes to underage drinking, many Canadians believe that by raising a child to drink responsibly the chance of developing an addiction later in life decreases. Which can actually make sense to some extent given the fact that for instance, the legal drinking age is lower in Canada than it is in the U.S. but42% of Canadian students reportedly drank heavily at least one time in a week in contrast with 54% American students.

Over 5 million Canadians are believed to engage in high risk drinking leading to accidents, pregnancy-related problems and other health issues as well as crime and violence. Fortunately, Canadian authorities have caught on these threats and a series of managed alcohol programs have been spreading across Canada and turning heads around the world due to their effectiveness. Monitoring the progress, experts have concluded that participants experience less hospital visits, detox episodes and police contacts after being involved in such programs. These direct improvements are token that with the right approach and support, alcohol addiction can become a thing of the past for millions.

Another example worth mentioning would be the infamous A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous’) meetings which have been around since the 1940s in U.S. and Canada and have grown in popularity throughout time due to their successful formula for providing help. For decades, the A.A. and the 12-steps initiative have been the go-to solution for people suffering from alcohol addiction. But it’s always a matter of different strokes for different folks. Each person is unique and so is their experience with addiction. This is exactly why there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all solution. For as many people reporting the many benefits they have reaped following A.A. meetings, others have found themselves conflicted with the concept or reluctant to adhere to the program.

Luckily and especially with the digital boom, more and more options are available. A 2018 study has actually found that alternative mutual help groups are just as effective as the 12-step program. Over 600 people suffering from alcohol addiction filled out an online survey. The analysis was done by splitting participants into groups according to their preferred help group option. A follow-up was done after 6 months and then after a year, measuring the outcomes which included abstinence and other alcohol-related problems as well as their level of involvement. At the end of the research, it was discovered that all studied options were just as efficient. However, the differentiator factor laid in abstinence and recovery goals. For instance, in AA the emphasis is on full abstinence as a way to treat alcohol abuse, while other groups might lean more towards moderation and whether the individuals wanted to commit to an alcohol-free life or just a specific amount of time.

As expected, the power of a recovery treatment and its success depends mostly on the person who is undergoing it. The saying ‘you are in control of your own destiny’ most certainly is a rule here. Recovering from substance addiction is a personal journey made up of various pathways.

Substance addiction and mental health issues associated with it affects the lives of four out of every five Canadians. About 80% of the population confesses that they know someone who has experienced or is dealing with substance abuse and at the same time, another 82% believe there should be more help available for these people. Key findings such as these are motivating and positive but simultaneously, they are pinpointing the existing gap. More support, more personalized help, more understanding and more care is what people living with substance addiction are most in need of getting back on their feet.

Fentanyl

There Are Risks and There Is Hope: Canada’s Fentanyl Ground Zero

Every day people get addicted. Whether it’s alcohol, the so-called party drugs, opioids or prescription medicines. Every day families are devastated, relationships are broken, lives are changed forever. Babies and children are exposed to such behaviours, putting them at risk to becoming addicted as well. It’s a vicious circle that must be stopped.

Abusing opioids such as heroin, morphine, and prescription pain drugs is a serious global problem that threatens health. Remember back in the late 1990s, when pharma companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to pain relievers? That caused a snowball effect with more and more healthcare professionals beginning to prescribe opioids and more and more patients normalizing their use and exposing themselves to addiction.

Canada is in the midst of an ongoing opioid crisis with Vancouver sitting at its very core. In 2017, over 360 Vancouver residents passed away because of an overdose. That is at least one death every day. Investigations revealed that in approximately 84% of the cases, fentanyl was detected either alone or in combination with another drug. That puts Vancouver right at the top in a ranking of Canadian towns with the highest number of illicit drugs overdoses in 2018, followed by Surrey and Victoria.

In a 2018 book –Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle with Addiction, Vancouver-based reporter and writer Travis Lupicktells a chilling story of addiction and pain but also the power of collective efforts seeking to lend a helping hand to those in need. The action focuses on Canada’s ground zero for drug addiction – Downtown eastside Vancouver. In a place where purchasing everything from heroin and meth to OxyContin and fentanyl has been the norm since the 1990s. Travis highlights in his book how the introduction of fentanyl changed the game. It also shows the city’s long battle with overdoses and addiction.

The situation is dismal all across Canada and not uncommon. Everywhere in the country, illicit drugs are being cut with fentanyl, which is between up to 50 and 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. To put the threat in perspective even more: just 0.25 milligrams of this drug can kill you. Imagine that the standard baby aspirin is about 81 mg. If you were to cut that in 324 pieces, one of those tiny parts is enough to kill. Drug dealers do this because the process is cheaper and the effects are stronger. And it’s working out for them: during one month in 2016 , 86% of street drugs tested in Vancouver were laced with fentanyl. The situation gets even more critical as people turn to the streets in growing numbers to buy drugs without being fully aware of what they’re taking. From just over 1,700 samples tested, well over half (61%) did not contain the substance the user was looking for.

But we all know addiction doesn’t work on rational and safe grounds. The risk of synthetic opiates lies in how it affects the body. By increasing dopamine levels in the brain’s reward centre, it generates instant euphoria which acts as a positive reinforcement to continue taking the drug. Misusing or abusing fentanyl not only causes addiction, but in many cases it has led to accidental overdoses. Particularly people who do not know how highly potent the substance is have been the victims.

However, efforts are being made to address the ongoing issue of addiction and overdosing in Canada and particularly in Vancouver. The Government, the healthcare system and the city’s leadership have joined forces to respond better to the crisis. This includes addressing overdose through prevention and drug checking sites, funding innovative research, supporting mental health and treatment scale-up. Which are all nothing short than amazing news, yet the key decision-maker still remains the user. And that’s something for addiction recovery centres to fulfil.

In order to overcome addiction, a user needs to be willing to fight and work towards change. In a 2017 survey by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, along with the National Recovery Advisory Committee it has been revealed that many times users are not even aware they have a problem, while other worry about stigma and not knowing where to turn for help. The survey involved 855 Canadians with just under 50% of respondents living in British Columbia and aimed to learn more about their recovery experiences. Experts reported with surprise that a gripping 83% of users faced barriers initiating recovery, with the biggest ones being that they felt they weren’t prepared to seek help or they did not consider having a problem (55%), followed by having to suffer through people’s stigma (50%). A lack of information (36%) and support (30%) were found responsible for delaying recovery. Almost half of the participants (49%) said they had to deal with stigma in active addiction. It’s important to acknowledge how attainable the solutions for these challenges can be.

Addiction should be treated and perceived as an illness and that’s what many fail to understand. No one wants to have their lives depend on a substance and ruin everything around them. As a matter of fact, 54% of people who were in rehab reported experiencing few or no barriers in keep on being clean and 51% said they did not have a single relapse. How encouraging are these numbers? Individuals with addiction disorders are more than capable of changing and evolving and they should be offered that chance. Another 47% of users reported having experienced challenges in accessing the right treatment, with most reasons being associated with cost, diversity, quality or lack of mental health support.

In light of these eye-opening findings many recovery centres have implemented multi-approached tailored programs to help the growing number of users. Because healing should always start with admitting the problem and seeking help, easy to access services and helpful and understanding personnel are essential. Anyone can get help today, it’s that first step that’s the hardest.