Healthy social networks (the people we connect with) are protective. Improving social networks brings gains in physical and mental health. In 2010, Julianne Holt-Lunstad and her colleagues undertook an impressive meta-analysis (massive review of the evidence available) to see how social relationships influenced mortality. They found a protective effect for those with stronger social relationships. In fact, for this group there was a 50% increased likelihood of survival.
Harm reduction interventions need to be widely available, accessible, delivered efficiently and proactively and evaluated and improved. Harm reduction services also need to have porous borders with treatment and recovery services and have hope embedded in the form of peers in recovery working within teams. A recovery-oriented system of care sees interventions not in silos, but in a continuum with the individual’s needs at the centre and the person on a journey. The person's goals, not the professional's goals (which can be at odds) should be paramount.
I’ve been waiting for today with a degree of anxiety throughout the whole of July. Even with the Mediterranean temperatures we’ve basked in this month, my thoughts have regularly turned in dark anticipation to today. Now it is here. Today the new drug-related death statistics for Scotland have been published. 1339 deaths. Up 5% on … Continue reading Scotland’s drug deaths
Last week a book I had ordered dropped through the letterbox. It’s Adam Hill’s ‘Long Walk Out of the Woods’. He’s a doctor who developed an alcohol use disorder and recovered from it. The book about his journey is next on my reading list. The arrival of Adam’s book triggered thoughts of my own story and then … Continue reading Doctors, Nurses and Recovery
Last week, the highlight of my week was not presenting at a conference or completing my part of a hard-worked funding bid, though both of these were satisfying. By far the loveliest thing to happen was a short conversation with an ex-patient who came back to say thank you. She particularly stressed the part that … Continue reading Drug policy – who calls the shots?
Recovery: a lived experience of improved life quality and a sense of empowermentBest & Laudet When it comes to drinking problems, men and women have differences. Women tend to binge, have higher pre-existing trauma levels and can suffer more (or different) kinds of stigma and discrimination. They are also more vulnerable to physical complications and … Continue reading Women: drinking and recovery
Credit: istockphoto/GlobalIP, under license Here are some things/experiences that came onto my radar in the last week. I don’t think there’s much linking them, but some bits and pieces may be of interest to others. On mutual aid ‘Analyses reveal that membership of mutual aid groups is strongly associated with more participation and (self-reported) changes … Continue reading Some things worth knowing
A tweet from a colleague affected me this week. The subject was stigma in substance use disorders and he related how, at the funeral of a relative who had died very young from a heroin overdose, a family member callously slandered the dead man and skillfully ‘othered’ him. The message was ‘he was not at … Continue reading Nothing to mourn; just a drug addict
One of the problems with an aspirational and non-prescriptive definition of recovery is that it is hard to measure. The definitions most commonly featured in the literature share some elements including wellbeing or health, abstinence and citizenship. Clearly if you can’t define it precisely, then it’s hard to commission services to deliver on it. In … Continue reading You’re all going to hate the word ‘recovery’.
Jason Schwartz guest-edits Recovery Plus Journal. Stimulating and relevant articles on: what's essential for recovery to happen, recovery-oriented harm reduction, problems with 'sticking with the evidence', moral injury, and some surprises with language and stigma. Good weekend reading!