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Published on August 13, 2014

Addiction: Help is Available – There’s Hope for Recovery

SIOUX FALLS (Aug. 1, 2014) – If asked to imagine what the typical alcoholic or drug addict looks like, most people would think of a man. The fact is, out of every four adults who suffer from addiction, one is a woman.

“Society often views alcoholics or drug addicts as men. Women are associated more with social drinking, maybe having an occasional glass of wine. Yet once it gets to be a problem, women might feel looked down upon – like it’s something they should be able to control more than men,” said Melissa Roby, MS, LPC, LAC, an Outpatient Therapist with the Addiction Recovery Program at Avera McKennan Behavioral Health Services. “Women try to deal with it on their own first.”

Depression, stress, relationship problems and attempts to “self-medicate” are all factors that can lead to addiction. While alcohol is the most commonly used substance, women, just as men, can become involved in abusing prescription drugs or illicit drugs.

Getting help is a step that each person must take on his or her own without being persuaded by friends or family, Roby said. Women might come to that decision in the midst of a personal issue, such as legal troubles, a health problem, or the possibility of divorce or losing a job.

Behavioral health professionals conduct an assessment to help people determine the best plan of action, whether that’s individual counseling, group therapy, intensive outpatient treatment or inpatient care.

Once recovery is in motion, Roby says the most important thing is to maintain sobriety. In addition to therapy or treatment programs, Roby recommends support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or Gamblers Anonymous. Relapse prevention programs also are recommended.

This also is a time to examine friendships and determine which ones are healthy, and also to examine oneself and learn how to find peace and serenity.

“Recovery is about you and learning about yourself, where you come from, what it’s going to take to stay sober and who is going to help you with that,” Roby said.

The term “one day at a time” is often used in relation to addiction recovery. Though it may seem cliché, it’s also effective.

“Saying, ‘I have to be sober the rest of my life’ is scary. That’s a lot of time. Being able to say, ‘I’m going to be sober for today, or I’m going to be sober this week,’ seems a little more attainable,” Roby said.

It’s an ongoing process that takes time.

“You’ve got to think of how long it took you to get to the point where you decided that you needed to quit drinking, or using, or gambling or whatever it may be,” Roby said. “It’s going to take just as long to work on your coping skills, determining what your triggers are, and finding a new group of friends or support group. That doesn’t happen overnight.”

To learn more, go to Avera’s free and confidential behavioral health assessment line is 1-800-691-4336 or 322-4065.

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