We are in an interesting and challenging season to care about behavioral health and addiction psychology. APA’s 2022 Stress in America survey was recently released, with one of the more jarring findings being that 27% of Americans say that most days they are “so stressed they can’t function.” This comes on the continuing emergency in youth mental health, sharp increases in overdose deaths (particularly amongst teens) and alcohol-related death, and record-high use rates of cannabis and psychedelics in young adults.
We’re collectively Under Pressure, as Queen would say, and the result is more and more people are searching for methods of relief. Substance use disorders and stressors have always been inexorably linked – we study and work with what essentially amounts to a metastasized coping mechanism, and our work has never been more important to our society than it is right now.
Yet at the same time we live in a communication paradox: social media and online distribution mechanisms mean it’s incredibly easy to voice our thoughts and findings in public forums, but also that there’s a cacophony of noise we must cut through in order to be heard. Seemingly everyone has an opinion to voice, regardless of whether it is based on empirical evidence, wishful thinking, conspiracy theories, or late-night forays into the polarizing echo chambers of algorithmically-curated reinforcing opinions and news.
However, as with so many things, our only way out is through: if the decibel level of the din is rising around us, we must communicate with increased clarity, consistency, and cohesion. And Addiction Psychology is doing just that – to name three noteworthy accomplishments:
We held our highly successful and well-attended return to our signature conference, CPA (Collaborate Perspectives on Addiction) in Portland, OR, and plans well underway to do the same for CPA 2023 in Albuquerque, NM. The call for papers is out – please consider submitting!
Our excellent Division podcast, The Addiction Psychologist, has had approximately 25,000 downloads to date - I definitely recommend subscribing on your podcast platform of choice.
We’ve begun holding regular CEU workshops in our new CEU hub with TPN.Health, with very strong coast-to-coast attendance on our first webinar featuring Dr. Tom Horvath (now available on-demand). Consider joining us for our second CEU webinar on November 18th presented by our new Education and Training Chair, Dr. Dan Jacobs, on Substance Use in Schools.
The Society of Addiction Psychology is over 1,000 members strong, and I’m proud to represent you as I start my year as President. I’m optimistic about the impact we can collectively have as our country looks to recover from the damages the pandemic has wrought to mental health and wellness, and move towards healthier public policies and personal choices in regards to substance use. If I can ever be of assistance to you, please feel free to reach out – I’m always available and happy to chat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be well and take care out there,
Aaron Weiner, PhD, ABPP