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Our Mental Health Blogs

Safe Injection Sites: What Are They?

Safe Injection Sites: What Are They?

Safe injection sites are becoming more popular across the world (Heroin Abuse, Heroin Overdose). But only two exist in North America, both in Vancouver, British Columbia. So what are safe injections sites and what benefits and concerns do they bring?

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Benefits of 12-Step Addiction Recovery Programs

Benefits of 12-Step Addiction Recovery Programs

Addiction Recovery 12-step programs have many benefits and are widely popular. However, 12-step programs also attract a lot of criticism. For me, the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks.

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Crack Cocaine Versus Powder Cocaine: What Is the Difference?

Crack Cocaine Versus Powder Cocaine: What Is the Difference?

Crack cocaine and powder cocaine are treated very differently in public and political conversation. So what is the difference between crack cocaine and powder cocaine? They affect your body the same way, but the main difference lies in the method of use (Cocaine Effects, Cocaine Side Effects).

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Dehumanizing Addicts: A Stigma Leading To Deaths

Dehumanizing Addicts: A Stigma Leading To Deaths

Too often American society dehumanizes and devalues the lives of drug users, particularly drug addicts (Changing Addiction Stigmas to Fight Substance Abuse). Not recognizing and responding to the humanity of drug addicts is a dangerous moral and societal failing.

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Common Alcoholism Stereotypes Enable Denial

Common Alcoholism Stereotypes Enable Denial

There are many stereotypes about alcoholics that enable denial that developed through years of misinformation, changing research, and biased opinions. These misconceptions about alcoholism, and the people who suffer from it, are arguably the biggest barrier to individuals seeking help. Alcoholics use stereotypes to justify their drinking habits and explain why they cannot possibly be an alcoholic (Identifying and Diagnosing Alcoholism). If the stereotypes about alcoholics were debunked and known to be attributes not exclusive to alcoholics, these excuses would be harder to find. Without stereotypes about alcoholics, it would be harder to enable denial. 

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Why Charlie Sheen Needs to Take More Responsibility for His Behavior

Why Charlie Sheen Needs to Take More Responsibility for His Behavior

I believe that Charlie Sheen needs to take more responsibility for his behavior of 2011. Almost two weeks ago, actor Charlie Sheen announced that he is human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) -positive, and paired the announcement with his plans to work for increased education about HIV. This is a commendable goal and he is in a unique position to educate and inform the public. But I believe Sheen also needs to take responsibility for his behavior and the harm he may have caused during his public meltdown in 2011.

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Changing Addiction Stigmas to Fight Substance Abuse

Changing Addiction Stigmas to Fight Substance Abuse

Perhaps the stigma of addiction is what perpetuates the idea that we should be able to kick all bad habits on our own, otherwise we are somehow weak or inferior human beings. This notion is particularly dangerous when it comes to fighting deadly addictions because it is not a realistic expectation. Most people die before they learn it’s okay to ask for help but we can change addiction stigmas to fight substance abuse.

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Addict or Alcoholic? Self-Identification and Addiction

Addict or Alcoholic? Self-Identification and Addiction

The most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published in 2013, changed the criteria for evaluating substance abuse problems and problems involving compulsive behavior, such as gambling. The DSM-5 includes the word “addiction” for the first time, in reference to pathological gambling, which the manual lists as a “behavioral addiction.”

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Self Disclosure in Addiction Recovery

Self Disclosure in Addiction Recovery

There’s a lot of stigma regarding drug addiction. After all, look at the many problems are associated with it: legal issues, financial problems, health and relationship concerns, etc. I mean a recovering addict just can’t catch a break these days.

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Addiction Stigma and Celebrating Mental Health

Addiction Stigma and Celebrating Mental Health

Early on, I was very aware of addiction stigma and the stigma surrounding mental illness. That’s why, even though May is designated Mental Health Awareness Month, I focus on my mental health and reducing addiction stigma every day of the year. This has not always been the case. When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and struggling with addiction issues over 30 years ago, I didn’t have much to honor. In fact, I pretty much hated life as I knew it.

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