How to Chang Traditional Thinking about Substance Misuse

The New Year brings an opportunity to start fresh with new ways of thinking about addiction and recovery! Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) wrote an essay with recommendations for how to change traditional thinking about substance misuse and what it means to be in recovery. Characterizing drug addiction as a chronic but treatable disorder rather than a weakness in character is critical to changing old thinking patterns. Abstinence as the primary desired outcome of recovery is often unsuccessful due to the traits of the disease and human nature to avoid perceived failure. Reducing stigma, employing harm reduction strategies, and acknowledging meaningful milestones in long-term recovery are ways to start the New Year with a fresh outlook on what successful recovery looks like!