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National Recovery Month observed in September

September 9, 2013
By Patricia Ross - Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board , Salem News

National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) is a national observance that educates Americans on the fact that addiction treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live healthy and rewarding lives.

Recovery Month is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). According to an annual survey released by SAMHSA, in 2011, 45.6 million people aged 18 or older had a mental illness, but only 31.6 million people received mental health services. 20.6 million people were classified with substance dependence or abuse, but only 3.8 million received treatment for a substance use disorder.

Now in its 24th year, Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible.

Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.

Celebrated during the month of September, Recovery Month began in 1989 as "Treatment Works Month" and honored the work of the treatment and recovery professionals in the field. It then evolved to National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month) in 1998, when the observance expanded to include celebrating the accomplishment of individuals in recovery from substance use disorders. It evolved again in 2011 to National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) to include all aspects of behavioral health.

The 2013 Recovery Month theme "Join the Voices for Recovery: Together on Pathways to Wellness," emphasizes the many ways that people can prevent behavioral health issues, seek treatment, and sustain recovery as part of a commitment to living a mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy life.

The theme highlights that people are not alone on this journey to seek total health every day. Family, friends, and community members can support individuals throughout the entire recovery process. The theme also emphasizes that there are many paths to wellness, including professional treatment, medical care, self-help, and group support, and each person embarks on his or her own unique path.

A mental health problem or substance use disorder can affect anyone. These conditions do not discriminate by age, race, ethnicity, gender, or income status and are as prevalent as many other health issues.

It is estimated that behavioral health conditions which include mental and/or substance use disorders, will surpass physical conditions as the major cause of disability in the U.S. by 2020.

On a positive note, two-thirds of Americans believe that people can manage a mental illness with treatment and support, and nearly two-thirds say they would not think less of a person with an addiction.

Mental illness is not a sign of weakness; it results from a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. Experts estimate that genetic factors account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person's likelihood of developing an addiction to illegal substances, and research also provides strong evidence that genes contribute to the development of alcohol dependence.

Often, people experience both a mental and a substance use disorder, which is referred to as having a co-occurring disorder.

More than one in four adults living with serious mental illness have a co-occurring substance use disorder, and people who have substance use disorders are roughly twice as likely to have a mood or anxiety disorder as those who do not. A variety of factors contribute to the correlation between mental health problems and substance use disorders including:

- Certain illegal drugs can cause people with an addiction to experience one or more symptoms of a mental illness.

- Mental illness can sometimes lead to alcohol or drug abuse, as some people with a mental health problem may misuse these substances as a form of self-medication.

- Mental and substance use disorders share some underlying causes, including changes in brain composition, genetic vulnerabilities, and early exposure to stress or trauma.

In the coming weeks, look for more on the signs of mental and substance use disorders, common mental disorders and misused substances, and treatment and recovery.

For additional detailed information, refer to SAMHSA's website:; call the Mental Health and Recovery Board at 330-424-0195, or check out the Board's website:



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