September is National Recovery Month – Recovery is Possible!

September is National Recovery Month.  We observe National Recovery Month to increase awareness and understanding of mental illness and addictions, as well as celebrate recovery from these conditions.  We are reminded that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover.

Scope of the Issue

One in five adults in the United States will experience a mental health condition in any given year.  One in two will struggle with it in their lifetime. Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions in the United States, affecting 40 million adults, or 18 percent of the population.

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depression is a major cause of disability, absenteeism, presenteeism, and productivity loss among working-age adults. Depression, alone, is estimated to cause 200 million lost workdays each year, a cost to employers of $17 to $44 billion.

Opioid Abuse

Opioid abuse is an epidemic sweeping the nation, according to the CDC, and Indiana is at ground zero. In 2015, 1,245 Hoosiers died due to drug overdose. And, Indiana ranks 34th in drug deaths with 17.9 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017, compared to the national rate of 16 deaths per 100,000.

  • Hoosiers are more likely to die due to drug overdose than a car accident.
  • Death by drug overdose has increased in Indiana by 500% since 1999.
  • Newborns exposed to opioids in utero have a 60-80% likelihood of suffering from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), which could impact the child’s long-term growth, behaviors, language abilities, cognitive development and academic achievement.

Opioid abuse takes a tremendous toll on the health of our state with drug overdose fatalities, costing Indiana $1.5 billion, as well as resulting in:

  • $31.9 million for nonfatal ER visits
  • $64.1 million for hospitalizations of babies with NAS
  • $350 million for related hospitalizations

And, substance use disorder affects 80 percent of Indiana employers. Fifty-eight percent of Hoosiers suffering from addiction are in the workforce. Prescription painkiller abuse cost employers almost $42 billion because employees were less productive while at work or were not at work at all.

Recovery is Possible

The good news is that recovery is possible. With treatment, most Hoosiers struggling with mental illness or substance use disorder can improve their quality of life. For many, good treatment is the initial pathway to recovery. For treatment to be effective, it needs to address addiction as a chronic disease.  Understanding that opioid use disorder is a disease leads to empathy for the person with the disease and will help to encourage people to seek and access treatment. And with treatment comes the hope of recovery. People seeking recovery need access to a full menu of evidence-based practices, modalities and interventions, including medication. Many need assistance choosing what is right for them, at what time, for how long and in their own community. The first step to recovery is recognizing you need help.

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Find out more about a variety of mental health topics, including information on recovery and treatment on LookUp’s topic page, here.

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If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of distress, please reach out to a mental health professional or get confidential, free support and text LOOKUP to 494949.


If you live in Indiana and need help finding a behavioral health provider, including providers who offer Medication Assisted Treatment, visit Find Help or call (800) 284-8439.

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