Addicted Australia - Episode 1

 

One in five Australians will experience an alcohol, other drug or gambling disorder in their lifetime. Anyone can be affected, as addiction does not discriminate – against age, gender, beliefs, income or social status.

The Addicted Australia documentary series takes cameras into the lives of ten Australians and their families, to show real stories of addiction. Each of the ten participants have enrolled into a unique and bespoke treatment program, developed by Turning Point, to access holistic care and support, recover and get on with their lives.

What does addiction actually look like?

“I don’t look like a drug addict, so I’ve been told. I don’t know what one looks like really, because I’m one, so they look like me,” Sarah, 42, addicted to ‘ice’ (crystal methamphetamine).

People struggling with addiction have long been depicted in the media as on the fringes of society. But that’s not reality. Sarah, one of the participants in the series, clearly shows that anyone can be affected by addiction.

The statistics prove that it’s not ‘other’ people living with addiction; its people who live in our communities. It’s our family, friends and neighbours.

Shame and stigma

“There is this idea that if you are addicted to whatever it is, you’re to be shamed. So I don’t say anything,” Heidi, 31, addicted to alcohol.

Heidi’s experience is far too common. People affected by addiction often experience stigma and shame, that make it difficult to ask for help.

The notion that addiction is a choice and that those who experience addiction should be blamed is incredibly damaging. Nobody wakes up in the morning and chooses to develop an addiction.

Shame and stigma results in long delays in seeking help. It takes on average 18 years for someone with an addiction to reach out for support. Unfortunately, for those who do find the courage to seek help, they often experience a broken, fragmented system.

Highlighting a broken system

“If you have an addiction and you go for help, it’s an absolute lottery what you are going to get,” Professor Dan Lubman, Turning Point Executive Clinical Director.

We know that treatment can work. With the right treatment, people can recover and go on to live healthy, fulfilled lives.

The treatment provided by Turning Point for this series is unique for its duration, holistic approach, comprehensive level of multidisciplinary care, and inclusion of wrap around support. The six month program designed for each participant included some combination of outpatient care, detox, pharmacotherapy, social work, individual and family counselling, and peer support, giving the clients the best chance of recovery.

“People present with very complex and complicated lives, but we know that treatment can work and recovery is possible,” Professor Dan Lubman

In this first episode, we start to see some of the underlying reasons that have led the participants to need this program.

Addiction is more complex than having too much alcohol or other drugs, or gambling too often. It’s critical to understand what puts an individual on a path to developing an addiction, and to manage these factors to support their recovery.

For many people with an addiction, there is lived experience of adversity, trauma and mental health issues. Identifying underlying issues and vulnerabilities that have led to a person’s addiction, and their consequences, enables people to get the care and support they need.

Hope is key

One thing we see time and again is that hope is an incredibly important and powerful part of recovering from an addiction. All too often people affected by addiction have experienced so much shame, stigma and rejection, that it may feel impossible for them to make a change.

But it is possible and there are many people here to help.

“There is the possibility of recovery for every patient,” Dr Ferghal Armstrong

We believe Addicted Australia is incredibly empowering viewing, and the most truthful portrayal of addiction that has ever been shown on Australian television.

Remember if you or anyone you know is affected by addiction and need support, help is available:

For alcohol or drug support:

1800 250 015 or Counselling Online

For gambling support:

1800 858 858 or Gambling Help Online