For decades, Americans have largely viewed drug addiction as a moral failing rather than a mental illness, and recent surveys show that attitude still persists today. For example, we recently discussed on this blog a study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health that found the average person judges addicts far more harshly than they do mental illness sufferers without chemical dependency issues.
However, a growing body of research undermines these attitudes and bolsters the premise on which Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef founded Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida, 25 years ago: Addiction is often, if not always, caused or worsened by underlying psychological, mental or emotional issues, making the distinction between substance abuse sufferers and the mentally ill effectively meaningless. In acknowledgment of this reality, national leaders are now calling for Americans to adjust their overall attitudes toward addicts and rehabilitation treatment.
Stuart Gitlow, M.D., the president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, recently penned an opinion piece in congressional publication The Hill, urging lawmakers to take action.
"Drug use is not isolated to dark alleys or urban street corners, nor is addictive illness relegated to one segment of the population," writes Gitlow. "Addiction crosses every geographic and socio-economic boundary across the country. Addicts can be the older American with chronic pain, the wounded veteran returning home, the teenager who finds leftover pain pills in the medicine cabinet, or the weekend warrior athlete seated in the office cubicle next to yours."
At Fairwinds Treatment Center, one of the best drug addiction treatment centers in the country, we have helped countless substance abuse sufferers successfully achieve a lasting recovery. Since Dr. El-Yousef opened our center's doors in 1989, he has used his unique dual diagnosis methodology to promote internal and external healing, making way for long-term wellness. Each of our patients receives a personalized combination of clinical treatment and therapeutic counseling to address mental, psychological and emotional problems that may have contributed to or even triggered their addiction. Oftentimes, such conditions, which may include anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and/or post traumatic stress disorder, have thus far gone undiagnosed.
Unfortunately, far too many treatment centers focus solely on the physical addiction itself, without taking into account the complex array of factors that affect a person's ability to sustain a new, drug-free lifestyle. Sadly, this almost always leads to a failed recovery. If your loved one is struggling with substance abuse, know that — with the right care — it is possible for them to put their addiction behind them and going on to lead a happy, healthy and fulfilling life. There is no better place for them to heal than Fairwinds Treatment Center. Contact us for more information.