Addiction Knows No Boundaries
On an average day at the Crozer-Keystone Recovery Center, the team opens its doors and welcomes people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction from all walks of life. There are high-paid executives and emergency room nurses, people who work blue collar jobs and students, homeless veterans and soccer moms. Addiction truly knows no boundaries – it’s a problem that can affect anyone, regardless of where they live, where they grew up, or their race, gender or age.
“The one thing everyone we see shares in common is that they need help with substance abuse,” says David Moran, director of the Crozer-Keystone Recovery Center. “Other than that, we see people from a large cross section of society.”
Addiction, Its Origins and the Stigma Surrounding It
Addiction is a complex process that involves biological, social and psychological issues. Moran feels that our focus on quick fixes and instant gratification gives fuel to the addiction mentality. “You may feel like it’s almost enough, but in reality, you get close to having enough of a substance – but you’ll always need more,” he says. “This is how substance use can quickly turn into substance abuse and addiction.”
Compounding the problem of addiction is the fact that there is a lack of knowledge around substance use and abuse. “It’s a mental health issue. We’re not talking about it in school or the doctor’s office,” says Moran. “There’s a stigma that makes people reluctant to talk about it. But the more we address it as a society, the more comfortable people will be with confronting the problem.”
This stigma, and the silence it creates among family and friends of the person struggling with addiction, also crosses societal boundaries. It’s common to hide the problem or pretend it’s not there.
“Family members and friends know what’s going on,” said Stacie Nawn, a licensed professional counselor and Service Director of the Opioid Treatment Center of Excellence who works at Crozer-Keystone Recovery Center. “In many cases, they don’t say anything because of the shame and stigma, which allows the problem to grow.”
Helping Someone Struggling with Addiction
The Crozer-Keystone Recovery Center and the newly opened First Steps Treatment Center at Crozer-Chester Medical Center are helping people who struggle with addiction. However, getting people to recognize their addiction is a challenge.
“People who are struggling with an addiction are not in a position to know when they need help,” says Moran. “There’s a lot of rationalization that goes on in their minds, they don’t have the wherewithal to recognize their problem, and in most cases, they are dealing with a lot of pain.”
Addiction is the great equalizer. This struggle and the inability to recognize the problem is common to all addicts, regardless of who they are or how their addiction started.
“If you’re asking questions about whether you’re loved one is addicted, they probably are,” says Nawn. “There’s usually evidence of a problem, but if you confront them and they’re in denial, you’ll encounter resistance.”
Encountering resistance is why seeking professional help is an important step in the process. Family members or friends likely won’t be able to convince an addict to seek treatment on their own. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, talk to your doctor about getting help – they can suggest resources such as the Recovery Center and First Steps Treatment Center.