Newswise — Many people have opinions about alcoholism and alcoholics, but few have heard the stories of those afflicted with the disease. A plenary session at the 41st annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) in San Diego June 17-21 will feature three persons in recovery who have agreed to share their stories.
“Alcoholics are people afflicted with an alcohol use disorder (AUD),” explained Alyssa Todaro Brooks, principal investigator at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. “Individuals with an AUD suffer greatly from stigma stemming from public misunderstanding of the cause of their disease, how it can be treated, and the fact that these individuals can recover and have productive lives while being drug-free and happy.”
Brooks will co-moderate this plenary discussion at the RSA meeting on June 18
“AUD is a disease that ultimately impacts individuals, families, and communities in ways that many of us may not even realize,” said Brooks. “Even if you are a clinician or researcher who interacts with patients regularly, it is easy to lose sight of the big picture. We believe it is important for those with the disease to speak to those working on understanding the causes of, and better treatments for, the disease.”
Brooks added that the volunteer speakers have all experienced different paths to recovery. “People develop and overcome addiction in a multitude of different ways. By sharing their stories, these individuals can help others overcome the stigma and misunderstandings about alcohol and other drug addictions. At the same time, we hope that] scientists can strengthen their compassion for the volunteers’ plight, learn about what causes their disease, and find out how people carry on after gaining control over the symptoms of the disease.”
“This plenary session is about bringing it back to the people who work in clinical vocations because of their desire to alleviate human suffering,” said Brooks. “We hope to encourage RSA attendees to not only be reminded of their mission and what ultimately led them to enter this exceptionally complex field, but to recommit to the mission.”
Brooks will help present these stories during the RSA 2018 plenary, “‘Voices of Recovery’ Panel,” on Monday, June 18 at 8 a.m. at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.