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Substance use disorder (SUD) is a common-but-complex health condition.

SUD sufferers and their support systems are strained during the SUD recovery journey. Similarly, opioid use disorder (OUD) continues to make headlines across the country, and social support systems continue to do what they can to combat the disease.

The role of social support in SUD and OUD recovery can’t be understated. According to American Addiction Centers, environmental factors that might increase a person’s risk of drug addiction include things like a chaotic home environment, peer influences, and community attitudes. It’s understandable that addiction rises when these influencing factors don’t support recovery.

How can you help, and how do local healthcare organizations like Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC) provide social support? Read on to find out.

SUD Recovery support group
SUD Recovery support group

What is Social Support?

Research has shown that individuals with substance use disorders find that relationships with peers, a caring relationship with a family member, or even one with a service provider peer recovery coach are most helpful. These kinds of relationships as well as more formal support groups, programs, and treatments all contribute to social support.

Traditional social support services offered by a healthcare provider might include:

There is no one-size-fits-all form of social support that guarantees SUD or OUD recovery success. Often, personal, subjective care is most influential.

Local healthcare providers like LCHC serve as community resource pillars around which social support systems can form and flourish.

Different Types of SUD Social Support Systems

Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint, and people often want right-now answers to their struggles.

Social support comes in many forms, and any avenue through which you can help someone recover will be beneficial in the long run. Different types of social support are helpful for different reasons.

Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment is a broad term for a family of services that focuses on personalized SUD recovery options. At LCHC, we rely on the lived experience of our peer recovery coaches and our patients to guide our program development.

Social support throughout addiction treatment can include preventive and behavioral medication, housing, recovery coaching, and group therapy sessions with peers.

Therapy Support Groups

Therapy group support includes everything from traditional recovery meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous to more activity-based, lifestyle-focused group meetings.

Therapy support groups offer an opportunity for SUD and OUD recoverees to talk with people who have been through similar experiences.

Something as simple as a Weekly Walkers group like the one at LCHC helps people set milestones and see real progress in their journey toward recovery.

Harm Reduction Support

Self-harm is an unfortunate reality for many SUD/OUD sufferers, and harm reduction is an important role of social support systems. Continued substance abuse, depression, suicidal thoughts, risk of overdose, and more are inherent dangers.

Treatment programs and therapy groups are social support methods of hands-on harm reduction through peer encouragement.

Often, harm reduction support also includes preventive treatments and medications. Narcan, syringe and needle exchanges and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) are life-saving harm reduction approaches that benefit the addicted person.

SUD Recovery support group
SUD Recovery support group

 Workplace Supported Recovery

Also, workplace support is vital to SUD recovery—so much so that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes a point to single out workplace-supported recovery in light of an ongoing drug addiction crisis. The CDC makes it clear that it is important to recognize the significant role that employment and employers have in a person’s recovery efforts.

Things like positive work conditions are ideal for addiction recovery. These include

  • fair treatment and rewards
  • meaningful work
  • social support from coworkers and supervisors
  • workplace social control
  • high task interdependence
  • direct contact with coworkers and the public
  • organizational support—the view that employees make valuable contributions and warrant time and resources to develop skills

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all recovery solution. Social support systems come in all shapes, sizes, and sorts, which is why it’s beneficial to include a number of them when dealing with substance abuse.

positive messages on fence, SUD Recovery

LCHC is Your SUD Social Support Partner

It’s difficult to watch someone suffer through substance use disorder, and it’s important to realize that SUD and OUD are real, treatable medical conditions.

We understand that recovery is easier when you have a healthcare partner to help create your social support network.

Know someone suffering with SUD/OUD who needs help? Want to find out more about community resources that can aid in the recovery journey? Reach out to LCHC support professionals today!

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