Addiction, which affects roughly 21 per cent of Canadians at some point in their lives, can damage the brain, body and more.
Unfortunately, the illness is often portrayed as a choice — a misunderstanding that can further stigmatize people who struggle with substance use and addiction.
“Addiction is not a choice,” says Kim Hellemans, chair of the neuroscience department at Carleton University in Ottawa
. “Sure, we’ll make the decision to use [the first time], but nobody decides to live that lifestyle.”
Many Canadians still don’t really know the science behind how addiction affects one’s brain and body. By talking more about what addiction is, how it feels and how it can be treated, Hellemans hopes the stigma might lessen.
What is addiction?
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) defines addiction as the presence of four things: cravings, loss of control of amount or frequency of use, compulsion to use and use despite the consequences.
The exact science remains unclear, but doctors believe there are a region and a circuit in the human brain “listening for when we engage in highly rewarding events,” said Hellemans.
“When we eat tasty food or have sex, there’s a natural reward circuit [triggered] because when we engage in these rewarding events, they tend to increase our survival.”
Most addictive substances target this system.
“Whether you shoot heroin or drink alcohol, smoke nicotine or cannabis, they all start to activate that pathway,” Hellemans said. “It translates to us feeling good.”
In people who develop addiction, doctors believe their “baseline reward pathway activation” is low.
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Retrieved from: https://preventionconversation.org/2019/11/29/global-news-the-science-of-addiction-how-our-bodies-get-hooked-on-drugs-alcohol/
This year NAAW is from November 25 to December 1 and the theme is Stigma Ends with Me. With your help, we want to increase understanding of the devastating stigma associated with substance use and addiction and its impact on the well-being of people touched by this health issue.
CCSA’s National Addictions Awareness Week (NAAW) highlights issues and solutions to help address alcohol- and other drug-related harm. It provides an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about prevention, to talk about treatment and recovery, and to bring forward solutions for change.
For more information please visit: https://www.ccsa.ca/national-addictions-awareness-week
The NW Peace FASD Network will be doing several presentations around the region. We will also be sponsoring a Mocktail event at Grande Prairie Regional College on November 27th from 11-1.
This webinar will share a new toolkit, Mothering and Opioids: Addressing Stigma and Acting Collaboratively, developed by the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health.
November 28th, 11:00 AM Pacific/ 2:00 PM Eastern
Who Should Attend
- This webinar is designed for practitioners and service planners who offer services to, and design services with, pregnant women and new mothers who use substances.
What’s in the Toolkit
- The toolkit invites people working in the substance use, child welfare, and related systems, to think about how we can continue to improve our work in partnership with women who engage with these services.
- The Toolkit includes 15 action-oriented tools, self-reflection guides, fact sheets and discussion starters for work to Reduce stigma; Offer programming; Collaborate across systems; and Improve policy.
- It highlights culturally safe, trauma informed, harm reduction-oriented and participant-driven approaches
Click here to register.
This webinar has been made possible by a financial contribution from Health Canada. The views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.
Retrieved from: https://preventionconversation.org/2019/11/24/register-webinar-mothering-and-opioids-addressing-stigma-and-acting-collaboratively/
A resource to support service providers in their work with women
These clips supplement provincial training on alcohol and pregnancy. They grew out of requests from service providers to see the evidence-based framework in practice with women. They provide a means of answering many of the shared questions brought forward by service providers who attended provincial education sessions. (Click on the links to watch each video.)
Part 1: Setting the Stage
This section outlines a framework for supporting women who use alcohol, tobacco and other substances in pregnancy and beyond. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is described as well as the necessity of prevention.
Part 2: Common Clinical Questions
Experts from the field share their practice wisdom and answer a number of common clinical questions.
Part 3: Scenarios
Service providers in various contexts demonstrate using a women-centred, harm-reduction oriented and collaborative motivational approach.
Part 4: Summing Up
The clips conclude with reflections on the importance of prevention and moving forward with the framework.
Retrieved from: https://preventionconversation.org/2019/11/22/centre-of-excellence-for-womens-health-supporting-change-preventing-fasd-video-series/
In July 2019, CanFASD released a standard definition of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a diagnostic term used to describe impacts on the brain and body of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol. FASD is a lifelong disability. Individuals with FASD will experience some degree of challenges in their daily living, and need support with motor skills, physical health, learning, memory, attention, communication, emotional regulation, and social skills to reach their full potential. Each individual with FASD is unique and has areas of both strengths and challenges.
A lot of research and development went into creating this definition. Its goals are to:
- Reduce the stigma surrounding FASD;
- Improve society’s understanding of this disorder;
- Generate consistency in how we talk about FASD; and
- Shift how we think about FASD to a strengths-based whole-body approach.
CanFASD strongly recommends that policy makers and service providers use this definition in their practices. An evidence-based consistent definition is a huge step forward in the FASD field. However, this definition is too long and too technical for everyday use.
For everyday use, or when a plain language version is needed, we’ve created a public definition of FASD:
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a lifelong disability that affects the brain and body of people who were exposed to alcohol in the womb. Each person with FASD has both strengths and challenges and will need special supports to help them succeed with many different parts of their daily lives.
We encourage everyone to incorporate this definition into their daily lives in order to improve the public’s understanding of FASD and create consistency in how we talk about this disorder.
If you have any comments or feedback regarding this new definition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This website is a navigation hub for FASD services in Alberta, Canada.
A unique made-in-Alberta plan on FASD focuses on developing and delivering community-based solutions, making it easier for people affected by FASD to get the help they need, at any point during their life.
FASD-related initiatives across Alberta help build awareness, promote prevention, increase access to FASD assessment and diagnosis clinics, conduct new research, and provide support for individuals living with FASD and their caregivers.
By working together, we will help Albertans affected by FASD and lower the risk of babies being born with the disorder.
Click here to check out the new website!
Retrieved from: https://preventionconversation.org/2019/11/02/new-website-navigation-hub-for-fasd-services-in-alberta-canada/