Summary of report content
Healthwatch Essex wanted to understand the experience of people who were recovering from gambling, drug or alcohol addiction. They spoke to at least 12 people.
The aim was to highlight barriers to accessing support, preventative measures that could be put in place, the current signposting of support organisations and what could be done to help people living with an addiction.
There were key similarities across people recovering from gambling, drug or alcohol addiction:
- Using gambling, drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with past trauma
- Normalising the behaviour
- Barriers to accessing support included not identifying with stereotypes of people with addictions, fear if their addiction became known it could affect employment or their children might be taken away from them and needing to be in the right mindset to seek support.
Across all three addiction sub-topics, every single participant mentioned the importance of lived experience in their recovery. They shared details of speaking to professionals, like doctors and counsellors, but found that they couldn’t relate to the person they were speaking to, and they knew that this was mutual. It was thought that without lived experience, professionals did not truly understand ‘how an addicts head works. Participants disclosed how significant groups and fellowships were to their recovery as it allowed them to speak to different people who were going through similar situations.
The report contains five recommendations.