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Addiction Counselor: Road to Recovery Includes Families

About 21.5 million Americans 12 and older were classified with substance dependence or abuse in 2014. (Sacred Heart/Flickr)
About 21.5 million Americans 12 and older were classified with substance dependence or abuse in 2014. (Sacred Heart/Flickr)
September 11, 2017

FARGO, N.D. -- September is National Recovery Month, and health professionals are focusing on the power of families and communities for people on the road to recovery.

More than 50,000 North Dakotans suffered from Substance Abuse Disorder at some point in 2014, according to the most recent data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Megan Busch, a counselor in Jamestown and president of North Dakota Addiction Counselors Association, said the opioid epidemic has made the issue worse.

She said it can be hard to support a person suffering from addiction.

"The behaviors that they put into the home and put onto their family members is intense, and we consider addiction to be a family disorder because not only is that individual sickening themselves, typically the family is becoming sick as well,” Busch said. "And so, when we get that client in and we can help them recover, we also want to help the family recover."

Busch suggested that anyone suffering from addiction to drugs or alcohol speak with a counselor. She said mental illness often plays a big role in addiction as well. About 21.5 million Americans age 12 and older were classified with substance dependence or abuse in 2014.

Busch said the stigma associated with addiction is a barrier to recovery, but it should be looked at like any other disease or disorder.

"A lot of them still suffer because of the stigma and, 'I don't want to go somewhere and say I'm an alcoholic and have people look down on me for that,’” she said. "And so I think if we can improve our communities and make recovery more of a positive, awesome thing, people will be more attracted to that."

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration began marking National Recovery Month 17 years ago. Folks can go to RecoveryMonth.gov to find out more about treatment for substance and alcohol abuse.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ND