There is no end in sight for the growing problem of drug addiction in the U.S. Drug addiction can lead to poor relationships with family members and even death. Drug addiction can have far-reaching effects on a person’s family, friends, and community as well.
Abusing any type of drug—such as illegal drugs, prescription drugs, recreational drugs, and alcohol—can create an addiction. Since this growing dependence on a substance to feel better or even euphoric has adverse effects on the body and the brain, addicts need to get help.
Addiction is More Common Than Most People Realize
Unfortunately, drug addiction has become so common that we all know someone who has struggled with it. Whether it is a parent, sibling, friend, or classmate, addiction can leave long-term effects on an individual. Drugs have been available in our culture for decades, resulting in one addiction epidemic after another. The current opioid crisis is just one example of the devastation addiction can cause for individuals and society.
Addiction statistics are alarming in America. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, more than forty million people are currently abusing drugs. With that in mind, here are some detailed statistics on addiction trends:
- 15 million Americans are addicted to alcohol.
- 30 to 40 million Americans are addicted to marijuana.
- 34 million Americans are addicted to cigarettes.
- 5 million people are addicted to cocaine.
- 2 million people are addicted to opioids, with 0.3% of the American population addicted to heroin.
Among those affected by an addictive substance, less than 10% seek any treatment. As an example, despite the prevalence of alcohol abuse, only 7% of people with this common addiction receive treatment.
Characteristics of Drug Addiction
Mental health professionals classify drug addiction as a chronic mental health condition because it might last a lifetime. Various treatments are available to reduce or eliminate it, including psychotherapy, detoxification, and medication. It affects people from all backgrounds and is a chronic and relapsing disease of the brain. The feeling is usually accompanied by elevated levels of dopamine in the brain, which, in turn, is linked to feelings of craving and euphoria.
Drug addiction can range from mild to severe. Mild addiction is the first stage of the addiction cycle, characterized by occasional use at parties and other social events. Eventually, these casual social consumers may progress to more frequent use. Over time, then, moderate use becomes habitual abuse. Chronic drug abuse can cause escalating feelings of guilt, anxiety, depression, and learned helplessness on how to break away from addiction.
How Drug Addictions Affect Mental Health
Mental health is adversely affected by all drug addictions, whether they are illicit drugs from the underground economy or excessive use of prescription drugs. Drugs affect not just the body, but also the mind. Initially, they induce euphoria and relaxation, but, at a later stage, they compromise mental acuity and may even cause psychosis.
Substance abuse of prescription drugs is often linked to mental illnesses. Taking too much of a prescription drug to treat a mental illness can actually trigger new symptoms. A study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that people with bipolar disorder had a higher risk of relapse when they used drugs or alcohol. Alcohol and drugs, such as opioids, can also interact with medications such as antidepressants, anxiety medications, and mood stabilizers. These interactions can impair the effectiveness of medication and delay recovery.
Benefits of Seeking Professional Help
Treatment options for drug addiction include rehab facilities, 12-step programs, and residential treatment centers. To overcome drug addiction, counseling is essential. The use of this type of therapy is one of the most crucial aspects of rehabilitation since it can help addicts break their self-destructive patterns.
Recovering addicts can learn how to live without drugs or alcohol with the help of a professional counselor and medication that reduce cravings. Addicts of cocaine, heroin, and other highly addictive drugs are less likely to relapse if they take methadone or suboxone.
If you are addicted to a drug, you should seek medical treatment. Since it’s difficult to overcome addiction on your own, seek professional assistance from a rehab program. Anyone with addiction issues can receive addiction treatment-from those who have just begun using drugs or alcohol to those who have been addicted for years. If you’re not sure where to begin your search, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or therapist for advice. Your personal healthcare professional can assist you in finding an inpatient or outpatient rehab center that can provide you with the treatment you need to end your drug abuse. Call us today at 844-903-2111.