A mental disorder, not a personal failure: why now is the time for Australia to rethink addiction
In times of crisis we often turn to alcohol or other drugs to help us cope, so it's not surprising that one in four Australians will develop an alcohol, drug [or gambling] disorder during their lifetime and around one in 20 will develop an addiction. As a society however, we often assign blame to the individual and don't consider the factors that contribute to someone developing an addiction.
Professor Dan Lubman writes for The Conversation on why we need to start viewing addiction as a mental disorder, not a personal failure, and why it’s time for us all to rethink addiction.
The year 2020 has challenged us all. The bushfires and then the pandemic forced us to reflect on what’s important, how we respond to crises as a community, and the ways we connect and support each other.
We’re still grappling with what the long-term mental health effects of this period of fear, insecurity and social disconnection might be.
At the start of the pandemic we saw a surge in alcohol sales and reported drinking. Almost one-third of people who purchased more alcohol expressed concerns about their own drinking, or that of someone in their household.
People often turn to alcohol or other drugs to help cope with stress, financial pressures, loss and trauma. Increases in drinking are consistently reported after natural disasters, acts of terrorism and economic crises.