CASAColumbia’s Jon Morgenstern, Vice President and Director of Health and Treatment Research Analysis, reflects on six key insights from his work in addiction treatment research.
- Addiction is a treatable disorder, the sooner someone gets into treatment the better the prognosis.
- Addiction is also a stigmatized disorder. Stigma may be the largest impediment to making progress in fighting this disease. The remarkable progress in cancer or AIDS treatment is due, in large part, to the public advocacy of the families whose loved ones were affected. If your family has been touched by addiction, please have the courage to be open and honest about it. It will make a difference.
- Families can play a critical role in helping an addicted loved one recover, but they need help from a trained professional to effectively intervene. Incidentally, we need much better programs to support families.
- For many individuals, addiction becomes a chronic illness that is characterized by repeated relapses. As with many other chronic illnesses (cancer, heart disease), there is no cure, but treatments focused on managing the illness can help.
- While we have seen rapid advances in the development of effective medications to treat addiction, at least for now, the most effective treatments combine behavioral counseling and strong elements of social support, including self-help group affiliation.
- There is no single pathway to recovery. However, studies show that hope, persistence in the face of relapse, strong support from friends and family and receiving good treatment do make a difference.