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  • Writer's pictureJacqui Grant

Mental Health - Let's talk addictions

Connect and Grow Magazine - April 2024 - Edition 8


We have added this new section to the magazine for those who experience any struggles with mental health.


It's great to have Mark as a new Connect and Grow magazine writer.

Mark works in Mental Health, is a personal trainer, and has a business in the NDIS sector - On Your Marks Care


What comes to mind when you think of someone battling with addiction? Hollywood portrays addicts as criminals who deserve nothing more than a lengthy jail sentence. Do you immediately think of the stereotypical characters presented to us on TV? Of the homeless guy shouting in the street, walking around with ripped clothes, smelling of urine and always drunk? Or the teenager with a green mohawk and neck tattoos who would pickpocket their way through the streets to make money to fund their smack habit?


Or would you recognise addiction as a misunderstood and complicated chronic health disorder that, such is the shame and stigma attached, often the person affected will not or cannot ask for help?



Addiction is a common disorder in Australia, with The Department of Health and Aged Care (2022) reporting that in 2019, 3.4 million Australians had used illicit drugs the previous year and that in the same reporting period, there were more people in their 50’s drinking 11 standard drinks in one drinking session compared with the previous reporting period. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2024) estimated that “in 2021, addiction and its associated costs in Australia was $80.3 Billion”. Addiction can be best described as a significant financial and health burden affecting large numbers of people, and the problem appears to be increasing.



Many people feel trapped by their addiction and that no solution is worse long term!

According to Turning Point (2024) “Addiction is a health condition that occurs when someone is unable to stop consuming a drug or activity even if it is causing physical or psychological harm”. However, this definition may oversimplify a hugely complex issue that spans the health, social, and justice system sectors. Addiction does not discriminate against age, race, or class. It is not just a physical dependency on a substance like alcohol or tobacco, nor is it just a repeated pattern of behaviour that the affected person could easily stop if they wanted. The reality is multiple factors make someone vulnerable to (or resilient to) becoming addicted, such as genetic predisposition, biological vulnerabilities, environmental factors and life experiences.


It is also important to understand there is a relationship between addiction and surviving trauma. That people don’t choose substances or harmful addictive behaviour simply because it’s fun; rather, people surviving trauma are doing the best they can do with the coping skills they’ve been taught. Addiction is a maladaptive coping strategy and should be regarded as a serious health issue, and appropriate treatment needs to be sought and offered.


In 2015, in his now famous Ted Talk, Johann Hari stated that the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety…. it’s a connection. This profound, revolutionary, and inspiring statement shaped how many view addiction. If we see addiction in this way, and with some understanding of the process of change, there is hope for recovery.


 You can watch the YouTube video here: Johann Hari Ted Talk


If you are struggling with mental health or addiction or know someone who is, you can reach out for help here:

Direct Line (Alcohol and Other Drug counselling and referral) 1800 888 236

Beyond Blue (mental health support) 1300 22 4636


If you are someone who has an NDIS plan and is struggling with your mental health or addictions, know that you are not alone; reach out:


To read more articles in April Connect and Grow Magazine, you can purchase thee-magazine or subscribe to the first issue to receive ar copy each month.

We have more articles in the magazine than we publish online.

(C) 2023 Break Free Consultancy Connect and Grow Magazine

Disclaimer: Information is accurate at the time of publication. It is general in nature; it is the reader's responsibility to seek professional help for specific concerns.

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