Detoxing Addiction and Supporting Mental Health in Ontario

Drug abuse remains a main health, legal and social challenge in Canada and treatment for addiction is as inherently complex as the substances they are meant to treat. To add even more to the burden, it has now become a fact that mental health and addiction go hand in hand.

Over 2% of the Canadian population over the age of 15 years old – not to mention toddlers who come into the world already addicted to opioids and other substances, reveal illicit drug abuse has harmed them. Addiction, overdose and misuse are taking the lives of at least 47,000 Canadians every year. In Ontario,the country’s most populous province accounting for over 38% of the entire population, five out of almost every ten people have lost their lives every day in 2017. Why do these numbers keep growing if a considerable number of detox centres are available and ready to help? It may be because many are not aware of this or are scared or even feel like they couldn’t afford the help. This should never be the cases when lives are at stake.

In order to better understand what life in recovery means for Canadians and the patterns, attitudes and behaviours, the first large-scale study of its kind in Canada has been published in 2017. The survey was completed by 855 Canadian adults in recovery from addiction, over 25% lived in Ontario. Overall, 78% of participants have received a diagnosis of substance abuse and over 66% one of a mental illness. When asked about their reasons for starting detoxing and recovery, almost 70% answered quality of life improvement, closely followed by mental and emotional health (68%), family or relationship reasons (64.9%) and physical health (45.5%). And these reasons turned into motivating factors for keeping clean.

In a context where many people who are addicted to substances are confident they can self-detox and do it successfully, it’s reassuring to learn nearly 61% of respondents accessed aresidential addiction treatment program. As a result, this type of help was deemed to be ‘very important’ by over 83% of respondents. Also ranking high were recover support houses (82%), 12-step support groups (19%) and patient detox programs (75%).Perhaps it becomes even clearer how much support is needed when we think that 20%have also had medication-assisted treatment to aid withdrawal symptoms and smooth the way for treatment to begin.

Over half of Canadians (65%) also recognized how significant program specific to dual diagnosis are which further reinforces the need for a multi-focused approach to make sure every person gets the right treatment program put in place for them.As an overarching takeaway, participants in the survey outlined the necessity for additional treatment facilities andoptions, besides the very well-known 12-step program.

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