This lecture was particularly dear to my heart because I have a personal connection to addiction. I have an older brother who is suffering from addiction to opiates, so hearing the stories of three recovering addicts brought a lot of bad memories to mind during lecture. Everything the panelists mentioned like enabling, the stigma, prison, etc., I could in some way relate to. Before lecture, I understood a lot about the stigma and addiction in itself, but recovery was something I wasn’t very familiar with since my brother isn’t in recovery. The collegiate recovery program seems like a perfect environment to escape the drug/alcohol college culture. Also, it gives recovering addicts a place where the stigmas are absent and support is present, so they are able to succeed in recovery.
As a future health care professional, there are many ways to become aware of the needs of people with addiction or in recovery. One way I would like to become more aware is to volunteer helping people in recovery. That could includes organizing alternative events instead of parties, helping in a rehab center, doing volunteer work with recovering addicts, etc. This could help future health professionals get more experience working with people with addiction/recovering from addiction. Future health care professionals also need to get educated and destroy any stigmas/stereotypes that have about people with addiction. Addiction is not the patient’s personal choice, so don’t treat them like criminals. Lastly, future doctors need to be more aware when writing prescriptions, because that is a major factor feeding into the opioid epidemic right now, and I saw this from a first person perspective.
When interacting with people around campus, I need to keep in mind that I do not know every students background and there are likely many people at UMich suffering from addiction right now. Like the panelists, said it is statistics that about 10 of the 120 HSSPers will develop a substance use disorder. We, as other students, need to support and love the people around us if they are going through addiction/recovery. Although I have experience with people with addiction and I have prior knowledge of addiction, they panelists who visited taught me a lot about recovery ad the resources available for people wanting to recover.
Personally, I have changed drastically this semester. In my letter to myself, I stated how introverted I was, and how I was scared that I wasn’t going to make friends. By the end of this semester, my personality has totally flipped. I am one of the most extroverted people I know now. I have made tons of friends and now have support that I didn’t have in high school. Professionally, I have also changed a lot. When coming into college, I didn’t know what pre-health track I wanted to take. I was conflicted between obstetrics and gynecology, pharmacy, and dentistry After the observation at the OBGYN and the dental school, I solidified my decision to go into dentistry. I am most proud of my perseverance through a rough patch in my life that happened while in my first semester here at U of M. I stayed motivated and didn’t let the challenge in my life slow me down. I want to improve my time management. I became stressed at the end of the semester because I procrastinated and left everything to the end. Other than that, I am very happy with how this semester has turned out.
We know that taking care of our bodies physically and mentally by exercise, eating well, etc., is a way that influences our health. Health goes beyond that. There are many more aspects that feed into our health. For example, the community we live in, social disparities we could possibly be exposed to, economic opportunities, and our personal relationships have an impact on our health also. The socio-ecological model consists of individual, interpersonal, organizational, community, and policy. A social identity that positively impacts my health would be my social support which includes my friends, family, coworkers etc. My positive social identity belongs under the interpersonal category of the socio-ecological model. When my mental health is not at it’s best, my friends and family are who help and support me through rough times. I believe mental health is just as important as physical health so that’s why I chose it as what has the most positive impact on my health. The social identity that negatively impacts my health would be my gender. There are many health disparities from being a female. For example, before the ACA, women had to pay more for health insurance, and now that Trump plans to repeal the ACA, this disparity will come to the surface again. I want to finish with a question asking, how do you think we can overcome negative social determinants?