Women’s Center offers awareness, resources on addiction

By Leonardo Cervantes

The East Los Angeles Women’s Center hosted a workshop on Monday discussing all the different types of addictions and traumas anyone can become susceptible to.

 The workshop was led by Daniela Herrera, a college program advocate for the center. 

Alcohol and drug addictions are always at the forefront, but she was sure to highlight all the other types of dangerous addictions, like food addictions, that can harm a person’s body and well-being. 

“The impacts of trauma can lead to loss of safety. The world has become a place where anything can happen,” Herrera said. 

Herrera emphasized that addiction and trauma are medical issues, not personal failures. 

People shouldn’t feel down on themselves because they feel the need to seek help.

When humans hear addictions, they automatically think of drug and alcohol addictions, but addictions are not limited to substances and alcohol. 

There are many other addictions that can physically and mentally damage a person just as much as drugs and alcohol. 

There are food, social media, sex, exercise, work, plastic surgery, pornography, video games, and gambling addictions that can equally derail ones life just like drugs and alcohol do.

“The Institute of National Health defines substance use disorder as a treatable mental disorder that affects a person’s brain and behavior. This leads to their inability to control their use of substances like legal or illegal drugs, alcohol or medications,” Herrera said.

 Drug and alcohol use can have an everlasting effect on a person. It can lead to depression that can take months to recover from.

Addictions can serve as deadly logic as it numbs the pain. 

“Self-medication is an escape that helps you feel happy or euphoric,” Herrera said. 

It is a solution to the pain from trauma but it can be lethal and dangerous. 

This is a terrible thing to do because instead of improving on your wellbeing, you are masking it with medication. 

Once the high of drugs and alcohol wears off, it can lead to a depressive state. When in depression it can lead a person to take even more substances which will continue to harm their body and well-being.

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the lives of millions nationwide, but it had a resounding effect on children and young adults attending school. 

“Two out of every three students reported difficulty completing schoolwork.

 “One out of every four students experienced hunger. One out of every four students experienced parental job loss. 

“One of our every 10 students experienced physical abuse by a parent,” Herrera said. 

The COVID-19 pandemic increased risk factors for substance use in youth including social isolation, boredom, grief, trauma and stress. 

“One out of every three students had poor mental health during the pandemic. 

“Two out of every five students felt emotional distress during the past year. One out of every 10 students attempted suicide during the past year. 

“Poor mental health and suicide attempts were less common among students who felt close to people at school,” Herrera said.

If you have experienced trauma and do not feel the symptoms have reduced over several months, it is important to seek support. 

There are many resources that can help with trauma anyone is facing and are encouraged to reach out to get help.The ELAWC Crisis Hotline is available 24/7 and can be reached at 800-585-6231. 

Other resources for those who are in need are listed below.

The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health is also available 24/7 and can be reached at 800-854-7771.

To reach the Crisis text line, text LA to 741741

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255

Disaster Distress helpline 800-985-5990

Trevor project lifeline 800-788-7386

Substance abuse service helpline 844-804-7500

SAMHSA’s national helpline 1-800-662-4357.

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