September is National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Nearly 300,000 Tennessee residents need treatment for alcohol problems but have not sought help, according to recent data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, an estimated 125,000 Tennesseans are in need of treatment for an illicit drug problem and are not undergoing care.

In recognition of National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month in September, the Hazelden Foundation, a national nonprofit organization helping individuals suffering from addiction, is raising awareness about the No. 1 health problem in the United States alcohol and drug addiction.

"National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month is a time to celebrate the nearly 14 million Americans who have received treatment in their lifetime," said Jill West, senior vice president of adult services at the Hazelden Foundation. "It also helps us reach those suffering from addiction with the message that treatment works and recovery is possible."

The 2004 Faces & Voices of Recovery Public Survey found that as many as 63 percent of Americans say that addiction to alcohol or other drugs has had an impact on them at some point in their lives. Each year, alcohol and drug abuse costs the American economy about $276 billion in lost productivity, health care, crime, motor vehicle crashes and others, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), while one-quarter of all emergency room admissions, one-third of all suicides, and more than half of all homicides and incidents of domestic violence are alcohol-related.

The following signs could indicate a drug or alcohol problem:

* Feeling guilt about drinking.

* Drinking or using a drug to calm nerves, forget worries or to boost a sad mood.

* Drinking or using drugs alone.

* Unsuccessful attempts to cut down/stop using.

* Lying about or hiding drinking or drug habits.

* Feeling irritable, resentful or unreasonable.

* Causing harm to oneself or someone else as a result of drinking or drug use.

* Needing to drink or use drugs in increasingly greater amounts in order to achieve desired effect.

* Medical, social, family or financial problems caused by drinking or drug use.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting one or more of these signs, he or she may have a problem with substance abuse or addiction.

"Alcohol and drug addition is a treatable disease. Research shows that proper treatment reduces drug use and family dysfunction and improves health, job performance and quality of life," said Jill West, senior vice president of adult services at the Hazelden Foundation. "Recovery Month not only raises community awareness of addiction but it also raises hope by giving recovery a familiar face and a strong voice."

For more information on addiction, call the Hazelden Foundation at 1-800-257-7800 or visit