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There’s no shortage of news and feature stories about addiction. Oftentimes, they follow a similar narrative — from painkillers overprescribed, to heart-wrenching family interventions, to challenging stints in rehab, to the happy endings of sobriety.
But for people who have lived through addiction, a lifetime remains after initial treatment ends. What happens next?
For many of those in recovery, the true test of sobriety comes not during the initial stages of treatment but in the months, years and decades to follow. After the addiction ends, the situational causes and contributors of it are likely to persist.
Here’s what journalist Maia Szalavitz wrote in Scientific American:
If we want to reduce opioid addiction, we have to target the real risk factors for it: child trauma, mental illness and unemployment…Many people would prefer it if we could solve addiction problems by busting dealers and cracking down on doctors. The reality, however, is that as long as there is distress and despair, some people are going to seek chemical ways to feel better. Only when we can steer them towards healthier—or at least, less harmful—ways of self-medication, and only when we reach children before they develop this type of desperation, will we be able to reduce addiction and the problems that come with it.
Addressing the risk factors can help prevent addiction and help those who relapse.
What happens after treatment ends?
Show produced by Bianca Martin.
- Sam Arsenault Director, National Treatment Quality Initiatives at Shatterproof, a national nonprofit; @PHwithSam
- Barry Grant Director of Outpatient Services, Hope House Treatment Centers in the greater Annapolis, Maryland area; certified chemical dependency counselor; @risewithbarry
- Brooke Feldman A person in recovery; social worker; writer; advocate; currently serves as the Philadelphia Center Manager for CleanSlate Outpatient Addiction Medicine; @BrookeM_Feldman
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