All those gory addiction images

Every news story, every documentary, and even notifications about events that educate about addiction include negative and damning visuals of needles, shooting up, candles and spoons, powder, and people lying on the floor having overdosed.

So what’s wrong with having those images?

Those images could be triggers for those who are vulnerable meaning we don’t want to put images out there that could compromise those in recovery. What’s more, they perpetuate the stigma of addiction. And we don’t need more of that.

Heroin is already a word and disease dripping with shame and ugliness without all of the negative imagery.… Read more...

Real Life Podcast. Grief from a stigmatized death

This 15 minute podcast focuses on the stigma of Substance Use Disorder and grief over a child lost to this disease.

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The REAL Life Program in Richmond, Virginia was founded in 2016 by Dr. Sarah Scarbrough in response to the growing number of challenges faced by men and women exiting incarceration. Read more on their mission here.

To build awareness of the issues in the Recovery community, they’ve started a podcast and I was honored to be their first guest. This one is hosted by Tim Alexander, a person in recovery and one of … Read more...

Mental illness and addiction need to be treated together

dual diagnosis

So many times, I’d take Charles somewhere for treatment and they’d draw a line in the sand between mental illness and drug abuse/addiction. Everything seemed to be treated separately although they most always seem to happen together.

Substance use disorder is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) as a mental illness. Mental and emotional symptoms of alcoholism exist long before the grave physical complications of the disease appear.

In a study of 133 of those with substance use disorder, 93% met the criteria for one or more psychiatric disorders other than substance abuse. Depressions … Read more...

Stigma writes me a letter

Hi Anne Moss,

I hear you are fighting me. So how’s that going? Sort of like taking salt out of the ocean by the teaspoon, isn’t it?

I admire that you have the audacity to take me on. People are so set in their ways, so invested in their fundamental black and white belief system, I won’t fall easily.

Denial is part of my charm, judgment so crucial to my success and shame is where I thrive. I flourish in an environment where people react only to the latest crisis and then forget it two weeks later. This culture is … Read more...

I know what will wipe out mental health stigma

More people are speaking out–Suicide survivors, suicide loss survivors, overdose survivors, those who suffer with mental illness.

Parents are motivated to seek help and are risking the fallout of reaching out because the risk of losing their child outweighs their fear of living with shame.

Then there is the awareness, rising suicide rates, media coverage and the opiate epidemic which has cut across all racial and socioeconomic groups including politicians.

All of this works in tandem together to raise awareness and educate millions.

But that’s just part of it. It’s not the secret sauce

The one thing that has been … Read more...