Betty Ford was married to Gerald Ford, the thirty-eighth President of the United States (1974-1977). As First Lady, she was an active advocate for women's rights and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). During her lifetime she was outspoken on many social issues including drug and alcohol addiction awareness. She herself had once battled alcoholism and a drug addiction to opioids prescribed to her for pain. She battled the addictions for most of the 1960s and 70s though she hid it well from the public. After a family intervention in the late 70s she began to face her addictions. After her own recovery, she opened the Betty Ford Clinic (now Betty Ford Center) in California to help others facing drug and alcohol addiction.
The original Betty Ford Center opened in 1982 in Rancho Mirage, California. Today, the Betty Ford name is synonymous with drug and alcohol rehabilitation. The philosophies of the Betty Ford Center are to help heal individuals suffering from drug and alcohol dependencies and save families. Since the original Center opened in 1982 other Betty Ford Centers have also opened with a focus on treating and healing children battling chemical dependencies.
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Betty Ford was a pioneer in helping to raise awareness of drug and alcohol addictions. After all, if a First Lady could suffer from addictions, anybody could. The stigma that addictions were only found in abused, homeless, or individuals battling mental illness, began to fade. Individuals facing addictions began to feel that if a First Lady could publicly admit to her addictions and get treatment, that maybe they could do the same.
Hospitals and drug and alcohol rehab centers across the country are thankful for the pioneering work of Betty Ford and the Betty Ford Center. The awareness they have raised has helped more centers to reach out to teens and adults battling addictions. The Betty Ford name has helped to build a platform for public awareness and open communications about the damaging effects of drug and alcohol addiction, the prevalence of addiction in society, and the need for treatment centers across the country, accessible by all.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) estimates that 14 million adults in America meet the criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. It is important for an individual struggling with alcoholism or other drug dependency to seek professional treatment under the supervision of an experienced drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. Drug and alcohol rehab centers that focus on the physical, psychological, and neurological reason or reasons why an individual is abusing alcohol are ideal treatment centers for drug and alcohol rehabilitation. With the right diagnosis and treatment program, an individual can make a full and sustainable recovery.