In today’s episode, we have a conversation about Substance Use Disorders, what is commonly referred to by the general public as drug or alcohol addiction. Substance Use Disorders are included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition, or DSM-5, as qualified mental health impairments that can benefit from treatment, such as any other mental health issue. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA, 1 out of every 12 Americans suffer from a Substance Use Disorder. That represents 18.7 million individuals. Of those, 8.5 million have a second co-morbid mental health disorder, such as PTSD, Major Depression or Bipolar Disorder. It is time to stop stigmatizing these people, instead supporting them on their journey to recovery as we would anyone else with a debilitating illness.
The new terminology of the DSM-5 represents an important change in our understanding of substance use, moving away from the more pejorative labels of addict or substance abuser to focus instead on the problematic behaviors themselves. The word “addict” conjures up any number of negative stereotypes in our minds, a skinny scary guy with loose morals and a lack of willpower. The word abuse is always negative in nature – sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic abuse, all terms that imply victim and perpetrator. Changing the terminology from “addict” or “abuser” to “person with a substance use disorder” more properly places the attention on the behavior, not the person, and makes it clear that these disorders are in fact illnesses.
Today we have Dr. Jessica Schneider to help us better understand this important topic. Jessica is a one of the founders of Evidence Based Therapy Partners. She is a licensed psychotherapist and consultant-trainer in a number of evidence-based treatment modalities, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Her specialties include emotional dysregulation, relational aggression and substance use disorders, amongst others.
In My Backyard is brought to you by The Guidance Center, a children’s mental health agency in Long Beach, CA. In My Backyard is produced by Tricia Costales and Matthew Murray. Thank you to Jay Vincent B for original music. All other music licensed through SoundStripe. Thank you to our listeners and supporters.
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