“Can treatment work if the patient doesn't want it?”
“Should I have cut off all contact with my loved one until he/she hit bottom?”
“My friend has been in treatment five or six times. Is it ever going to work?”
These are some of the core questions that Recovery Centers of America (RCA) chief scientific officer Deni Carise, PhD, hears time and again at various public forums. Carise tells Addiction Professional that the questions remain remarkably similar regardless of whether the forum is a social media chat or a Capitol Hill briefing.
In her organization's effort to speak out on broader issues of importance to the treatment and recovery community, Carise last week participated in a live Twitter conversation using the hashtag #askaboutrecovery. She also holds a weekly Facebook Live event as part of RCA's public outreach.
“As ambassadors of recovery we really owe it to the country to keep getting the word out there that treatment works,” Carise says.
So she continues to reinforce the points, for example, that coerced treatment can work as well as care received voluntarily, that loved ones can practice good self-care without totally cutting off from a family member in need, and that no one should be considered “too far gone” to benefit from treatment.
Carise's day on Nov. 20 featured a visit to the Twitter headquarters for the conversation event, followed by a trip to Capitol Hill to testify in a hearing organized by Young People in Recovery (for which she serves on the board). Other speakers at the hearing titled “Recovery Ready Communities: Options for Financing Recovery Supports” included Rob Morrison, executive director of the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD), and Andrew Burki, chief public policy officer at Hanley Foundation.
Carise believes the public's understanding of addiction as a disease continues to grow, but the message isn't always getting to the people most affected by the illness.