How do you define Addiction, Mental Health and Recovery?
It’s not easy to define addiction. It’s really only been about 80 years that people have been talking about it in terms of a psychological or physical disorder. Still today many people see addiction as a moral problem, caused by making bad decisions, or being lazy. We know now that those factors might lead one to occasional overuse or irresponsible behavior, but addiction is something quite different.
Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves recurrences and remission.
Mental Health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Recovery is the remission from addictive disorders, characterized by improved health, functioning and quality of life. It is the commitment to sustained recovery management and the protection of recovery through individual and community strategies.
How do I know if I have a problem with drugs/alcohol or behaviors?
As with so many things having to do with addiction, there are many gray areas here. Not everyone who is a heavy user is an addict / not everyone who is an addict is necessarily a heavy user. The most important thing each one of us can do is consider why and how much we use substances or behaviors and become open to further understanding.
Here are some things you might want to consider as “signals” where maybe you could look more carefully at your substance use, or to make an appointment to talk with us.
- If you’ve had a DUI or gotten in trouble with the police for drinking/drug use
- If you’ve ever experienced a blackout (couldn’t remember the night before)
- If your friends or family have expressed concerns about your substance use
- If you find yourself drinking or using privately, or to get “warmed up” for a party
- If you find yourself frustrated that there’s not enough to drink or use at a party
- If you think about drinking or using at odd times of the day – like during a class
- If your family has a history of addiction
- If your behaviors or substance use has you in a cycle of saying “I will never do that again; and you do that again."
Someone close to me accused me of being an addict or crazy – how should I react?Two things. First, try not to get angry. The majority of people don’t really know much about addiction and mental health, so what might appear to someone as addictive behavior or “acting crazy” is not to someone else.
If someone has expressed concern, it could be a signal for you to ask yourself some questions. Take it as a caring gesture, as an opportunity to find out more about yourself.
This page has some questions and “if’s” that can help you probe deeper.
- Do you have feelings of guilt or remorse after drinking?
- Have you or someone else been injured because of your drinking?
- Have you missed commitments or obligations because of your behaviors/use?
- Have you tried to control your substance use or behaviors?
- Have you attempted to cut down on behaviors?
- Are you isolating yourself?
- Are you sleeping too much?
- Are you experiencing mood swings, angry or sad all the time?
I think I might have a problem with addiction- what do I do now?
Take a breath. Then congratulate yourself.
"Congratulate myself? For having a problem? You’re kidding, right?"
Millions of other people have found themselves at this cross-roads and every one of them has felt like you do right now – probably confused, maybe mad at yourself, maybe embarrassed, maybe scared – but people from every walk of life – the greatest musicians, actors, business leaders, politicians, religious leaders, and yes – students just like you have begun a journey that has brought them to the greatest place in their life. It may not seem like it right now – might feel totally impossible –– only time and learning will tell. But you’ve taken the first step, the very most important one.
You're not alone. Contact our office for support: (470) 578-2538 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am concerned about my friend’s substance use or behavior – is there anything I can do?
Yes. But it’s usually very tricky. Like most mentally-related issues, there’s a lot of discomfort, resistance, and social anxiety about being labeled an alcoholic or drug addict. As discussed in the question of What is addiction and recovery for many years people have thought of it as a weakness or moral issue. Fortunately as people have learned more about the illness, many of those assumptions are changing. But there is still a lot of confusion, fear, and denial.
As with any other mental issue the first question involves safety. If you believe someone’s drinking or drug use poses a serious threat to their or others’ safety, you should report it [fill in here how it’s done at KSU].
If you don’t see it as an imminent danger, here are some things to consider.
If you are comfortable talking to the person, you can have a private conversation. Be honest, non-confrontive, non-accusing. Ask simple questions like “Have you ever wondered whether you might have a problem with drugs or alcohol? Have you ever thought about talking to someone about it?” Keep things light.
Talk to us here at CYAAR - we might be able to help you convince your friend to talk to us. Click here for our contact page.
I have a friend in recovery - how should I treat him/her?
Of course everyone is different, but in general people in recovery are just like the rest of us, except they’ve made a decision to live without the substance (or behavior) they’re addicted to. Normally they’ve gone through a serious time of making hard decisions and accepted that they can’t drink or use no matter what. And a big part of this is accepting that it’s OK for other people who don’t have an addiction problem.
They might be very “out” about it, joke about it, or you might not even know they’re in recovery. They might have chosen not to go to parties, or to show up early and leave early. If they’ve made this decision recently, they might have to do things to avoid temptation, find other hobbies or friends, but if you think about it, that’s no different than if you found out you were allergic to peanuts, or a diabetic: you’d have to change a few things, and say no to a PBJ or cheesecake, but you’d get used to it.
By and large recovery programs like CYAAR teach your friend how to be happy and secure around others, and to be completely comfortable in a society where alcohol and drug use exist and old behaviors are no longer helpful
If you ever find yourself uncomfortable around someone in recovery, or having trouble understanding why they’ve made the decision to stop drinking or using, you can always talk to us here at CYAAR. You might even be curious as to why they’re so happy being abstinent - if so, just ask them!
I have been referred to the CYAAR for an evaluation – what do I do now?Call us to set up a confidential appointment at (470) 578-2538.
I am in recovery - how can the CYAAR help me?
How can CYAAR help my son or daughter?
Recovery support on the college campus can come in many forms.
At KSU’s Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery we provide support for your student in the following ways:
- A place to connect with other students in recovery
- Professional staff who understand and support the student in recovery
- Professional personality assessments to help students gain insight both academically and emotionally.
- Recovery meetings on campus
- Opportunity for merit based scholarships
- Leadership and Service growth and development
- Fun and fellowship
- Connection, Community, Commitment
How can I tell if my son or daughter has a drinking or drug problem?
First, take a breath. The more you can get your brain to think coolly and carefully about this, the better off things will be – not just now, but in the long run.
There are many reasons you might have arrived at this page – your son or daughter might have been referred to CYAAR, it might have involved the legal system, such as a DUI, or you might just be curious. Your kid might have made this decision on his or her own, or it might be that you’ve had this question for a while.
However you got here, there are two general things that might help you right off the bat.
First, it might not be addiction.
It’s probably no surprise to you that college-age kids are impulsive, experimental, breaking away, trying to fit in, and excited about all the new things happening to them. You might remember these same qualities in yourself at that age. A big challenge to them right now is deciding the role that “feel-good” things - including mind-altering substances - play in their lives. And it’s a natural part of this challenge to make some mistakes, push a little too far, etc. When this evolves into a problem depends on each person, but if the frequency and severity of the episodes seems to be increasing, that is a strong signal that it could be heading toward a diagnosis of addiction. You might visit this page for some more insight on what addiction and recovery are about.
Second, if it IS addiction, it’s not the end of the world
Statistically 1 in 10 people have some level of addiction. Millions of people have recognized, admitted, and through recovery found a freedom, joy, and productivity they had no idea existed. Some people find this early, some later on, for some it’s easy, for some difficult, but the road to recovery always begins with asking questions like this one.
CYAAR’s mission is to help you and your child get the right answers.
Where can I learn more about addiction?Click here for our Addiction and Recovery Resources page.
What is Al-Anon / Al-Ateen?
When 12-Step programs began with the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in the 1920s a key component was addressing the interrelationships between people with addictions and their family members. Soon it was discovered that applying many of the same principles used in AA can also have far-reaching benefits for parents, spouses, and siblings, and have an added positive impact on the overall recovery process.
The same thing applies to anyone asking questions about addiction.
My student has just joined the CYAAR – do I need to do anything?
- Be interested
- Be available
- Be willing
- Be patient
- Ask questions
- Get support
Contact us for program information and information on our parent support group at (470) 578-2538
Collegiate Recovery Community FAQs
What are the requirements for participating?Click here for our Eligibility page.
Do I have to join to get the resources?While being a CRC membership allows you to all benefits offered, students can still attend meetings and counseling and experience the support offered by the group without being a member. Regardless of CRC membership or eligibility, these are resources open to the campus and community.
Where do I live while attending KSU if I’m enrolled in the CRC?CRC offers housing. Click here for more information.
What are the options for out of state students?Members who pay out of state tuition, are eligible able to get a tution waivers to receive in state tuition. Waiver availability is limited. Speak with us further about your interest in an in state tuition waiver.
What are the scholarship criteria?Scholarships are awarded to CRC members who meet the academic requirements. The scholarship is only available to qualified CRC members who are committed to their involvement in the CRC.
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