The Addiction Epidemic
There are more deaths, illness, and disabilities due to alcohol and drug use than any other preventable health condition. Nearly one in four deaths can be attributed to alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drug use, and substance use disorder is linked to a variety of health problems including cancer, cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis, dementia, depression, gout, infectious diseases, pancreatitis and seizures.
Substance use is also linked to poorer performance on the job or at school, difficulty in keeping a job and relationship problems. As usage increases, so does the likelihood of being involved in a traffic or workplace accident, legal and financial troubles, violence, crime and homelessness.
One in four Americans will have an alcohol or other drug problem at some point in their lives.
The number of persons with a substance use disorder in the United States holds steady at about 15 to 20 million. In 2014, an estimated 20.2 million American adults needed treatment for substance use, and among those, 39.1% (or 7.9 million) had a co-occurring mental illness. (SAMHSA)
When a person has both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder, they are diagnosed as having co-occurring disorders or dual disorders.
Treatment regimens that aim to address both the substance use and mental health disorders concurrently have proven to be very effective.
Treatment is Effective
What needs to be more widely told is that addiction is a disease of the brain, not a moral weakness or shortcoming. And because it is a disease, treatment is possible and even effective!
Research shows that treatment can help patients stop using, avoid relapse and successfully recover their lives. Of individuals with chronic dependence who achieved sustained recovery, the majority did so after participating in treatment. (source: SAMHSA)