Acknowledging the need for allyship for those who are experiencing addiction is essential. If you know someone who is experiencing addiction, you can make a difference just by being there, listening and being present. Support healing and recovery through empathy and understanding but, most importantly, reach out and ask them how you can help. Addiction thrives on isolation and shame and declaring yourself to be an ally can be a great way to reach out.
In his Rat Park experiment, Dr. Bruce Alexander examined the impacts of environmental factors on addiction, with rats as participants. The results suggested that the rats which were placed with others were significantly less likely to get addicted to drugs compared with rats that were caged alone. Thus, concluding that a connection with others can be the antithesis to addiction. (Psychology Today)
A study between the NYU School of Psychiatry, the New York Harbor Healthcare System and the State University of New York Downstate School of Public Health reported that individuals with a strong peer network were significantly less likely to relapse from addiction, particularly if there was a distinctive focus on self-determination within their social group. They also found this was correlated with a decrease in engagement in risky behaviors, such as sharing drug paraphernalia, as well as an increased likelihood of more positive outcomes for the future. (NCBI)
Question: How can you be a better ally to those experiencing addiction?
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