Raising Awareness for Recovery

National Recovery Month focuses on celebrating treatment for addiction and mental illness

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) September is National Recovery Month, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). There's no better time to talk about treatment for addiction and mental illness.

Millions of Americans struggle with mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse. These conditions can be difficult to live with, but treatment is available.

National Recovery Month serves to educate Americans on the services and treatment options for individuals living with mental illness and addiction. Additionally, the month highlights and celebrates the successes of individuals who have sought help for recovery.

"Seek help for recovery from an addiction or mental illness."

People can become addicted to a variety of substances and behaviors, including alcohol, tobacco and drugs.

People who are addicted to something have psychological and physiological cravings that are almost impossible to control on their own. Fortunately, several forms of treatment are available, including medication, counseling and behavioral therapies.

National Recovery Month also seeks to educate Americans on mental illnesses like anxiety disorders, clinical depression and eating disorders.

Causes of mental illnesses are also varied and sometimes unknown. Some mental illnesses may have a hereditary basis (can be passed down through families).

Addiction and mental illness can both be treated, but the first step is to be diagnosed by a medical professional. The type of treatment that a patient receives often depends on the severity of their condition.

SAMHSA's National Recovery Month emphasizes that mental and behavioral health is a critical part of overall health. According to the organization, celebration of treatment and recovery from addiction or mental illness is an important part of the month, just like remission is cause for celebration for a cancer patient.

"There are two crucial take-home lessons for a successful recovery," said Barbara Long, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia.

"First, there is a lot of help available. Take advantage of it. And second, don't try to do it alone! You may kick the habit initially, but recovery is a life-long practice. Surround yourself with 'exemplars,' i.e., others who model the way you want to be and build in ongoing support to help you keep on track," Dr. Long said.

Review Date: 
September 6, 2013
Last Updated:
September 7, 2013