Tessa Torgeson shares her personal experience as a member of the LGBT+ community who is also in recovery from addiction. “For myself, the intersections of addiction and LGBT identity are so complex… We weren't given the social or political power to have public space. So, bars and underground clubs were our space... so addiction can sometimes become a learned behavior. For me, it was alcohol. I used it to suppress my identity.”
“For years, geriatricians and researchers have sounded the alarm about the use of benzodiazepines among older adults… Now the opioid epidemic has generated fresh warnings, because pain relievers like Vicodin (hydrocodone with Tylenol) and OxyContin (oxycodone) are also frequently prescribed for older people. When patients take both, they’re at risk for overdosing… But fatal overdoses — which are a comparatively tiny number given the size of the older population — represent just one of many longtime concerns about these medications.”
The Mental Health Association of Maryland is fighting distorted perceptions around mental health and aging with this educational guidebook. It covers a wide array of topics for older adults and caregivers alike, offering great information about brain health and some of the challenges that may come later in life.
Click the title to access the full PDF version or head to www.mdaging.org for more information on aging, behavioral health, or how to start a "Guidebook Study Group" to help bring this important information to your community. Click Read More to access some of our favorite Guidebook quotes, formatted perfectly for sharing on social media and beyond.
This DP Original article explores the stigmatizing attitudes and behaviors that have historically contributed to the disparities experienced by ethnic/minority populations in the mental health and substance use systems of care.
“Unlike alcohol and drugs, where many people strive for total abstinence, individuals “addicted” to food cannot completely abstain from eating. They need to use food (their “drug of choice”) without over- or under-eating. But recovery is possible.”
This article takes a look at how common distorted perceptions around addiction have evolved into “three basic schools of thought on alcoholics and homeless shelters” centered around the idea of “wet “ or “dry” shelters (whether or not participants are allowed to seek shelter while intoxicated). The article also touches on harm reduction, housing first, and sample goals/ viewpoints from organizations providing each. A great introduction to the conversation around treating homelessness and addiction! Click the title for the full article from The Fix.
After working with a local network of current and former drug users, 18 year old Max Kerr realized that he had many distorted perceptions towards homelessness and addiction. “When I came to my first meeting I kind of just kept to myself, and I was really nervous. I didn’t entirely want to shake people’s hands because all the perceptions I had were: homeless people are grimy, they’re dirty. And anyone I told about this, they said ‘Well, be careful that they don’t try to manipulate you into giving them money or drugs or something,’” he said. “As soon as I met them, I knew that my perception of them was wrong. I think a lot of people probably know that, too, but they don’t listen to that thought,” he said. Are you seeing clearly? Refocus and look again. Click the title for the entire story from The Abbotsford News.
This article from TakePart at Participant Media is challenging the distorted perceptions around addiction and homelessness by exploring the reasons why homeless people begin using drugs and alcohol and the barriers that keep them from treatment and long-term recovery. “Substance abuse is the leading cause of death in the homeless community, and almost half of people living on the streets suffer from chronic substance addiction… There’s really not a whole lot of anything that’s successful for the homeless to get their addictions taken care of. Even when there is a program they can get to, to get clean and sober, as soon as they’re done they’re right back on the street where the drugs and dealers are.” They also highlight the 2016 LIVES Challenge, a video-based anti-stigma project hosted by Recovery Brands. Click the title for the full article from TakePart.
Celebrity endorsements help bring the stigma conversation to the table, but do they really impact the “nearly one in five U.S. adults” who live with mental illness and addiction every day?
“Treatment for addiction, facilitated within or by the workplace, has been shown to be successful in increasing employees’ legal, mental, and social functioning, as well as decreasing absenteeism rates, workplace conflict, and productivity problems upon return from treatment… Taking steps to address addiction is truly an opportunity to humanize the workplace and help reduce suffering.” Click the title to access the entire article from Harvard Health Blog.