A couple weeks back I was perusing the news on the internet when I came across an interesting story and really cool idea in addictions research. Researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in Roanoke, Virginia have created a National Quit & Recovery Registry. To better understand how people quit using drugs and alcohol, as well as how people remain in recovery from drug and alcohol problems, researchers at the institute created an online database where people share what helped them quit and what helps them in recovery. The researchers are asking people who have at least 1 year in recovery from an addiction (including overeating, nicotine, or “other harmful behavior”) to describe their personal strategies for quitting and staying in recovery. People who share their stories can do it anonymously or confidentially and will be offered the opportunity to participate in various research studies aimed at better understanding addiction and recovery. Based on the registry’s website, it looks fairly easy to contribute your “success story.” If you are a person who is in recovery from addiction this seems like a great way to share your own personal strategies for successfully quitting an addiction and also contribute to science.
Why The Registry is Awesome (in My Personal Opinion)
Many of you who follow the blog know that my colleagues and I really value science and the research process. One reason why I’m excited about this registry is that it will likely yield a wealth of research studies that will improve our understanding of addiction and ultimately lead to better addiction treatment. Although mental health researchers and professionals have done a wonderful job in creating effective therapies for addiction, we know that these treatments do not help everyone and that relapses are common. I am excited about the possibility that we can improve addiction treatment and help reduce the suffering of people with addiction, their families, and their loved ones.
A second reason why I’m excited about the registry is that comes from a person-centered perspective. What do I mean by this? Person-centered refers to a focus on the individual, including the unique factors that are related to a person’s personality and mental health. Prior to my work here at Portland Psychotherapy, I worked with individuals experiencing serious mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia). At the clinic where I worked there was a strong emphasis on putting the person first, not their mental illness. As result of my experiences working in a place that heavily emphasized person-centered care, I continue to value this perspective in mental health and addiction treatment. I think it can be easy to fall into the trap of only seeing the addiction and forgetting about the person with the addiction. I believe there is great value in gaining from perspectives of people who have quit using and who continue in their recovery from drugs and alcohol. I really like the blending of science with a person-centered perspective.
A Second Cool Addiction Website
Another interesting internet resource I came across recently is Dirk Hanson’s blog “Addiction Inbox.” Dirk Hanson is a science reporter who has done a fair amount of writing on addiction and recently had a book on the science of addiction published. His blog is a treasure trove of posts about addiction. Although I disagree with some of Mr. Hanson’s points, I find his blog to be informative and accessible to a wide audience. I particularly like his posts about new research studies on addiction, as well as his posts about emerging substances that may be potentially addictive, but not yet recognized by the government as such (e.g. “Spice”). I appreciate Mr. Hanson’s ability to take complex research and to simplify it to its most interesting (and possibly most useful) points.
With so many addiction websites and blogs available, it can be difficult to find ones that are easy to understand and science-based. I believe the two websites offered in this post are accessible to a wide range of people and give people the opportunity to look behind the veil of scientific research on addiction. I hope you will find these websites as useful as I have.