Addiction in the United States touches millions of lives each year. Whether challenges related to alcohol, cocaine, opioids, or any other substance, addiction kills thousands of Americans every year.
An Overview of Addiction in America
Historically addiction was viewed as a choice or a moral failure of the individual, and therefore, those who struggled with addiction were stigmatized, and seeking treatment was often not an option. Fortunately, times and viewpoints related to addiction have changed. Addiction is now viewed as a mental illness for which treatment is encouraged. Addiction is a complex brain disease involving a compulsive need to use substances despite any adverse consequences. People who struggle with addiction have an intense and overwhelming need to use substances such as alcohol or drugs to the extent that it often takes over their lives.
The statistics on addiction in America are quite disturbing and prove that addiction knows no limitations. A few of the most compelling addiction statistics have been outlined below.
- Almost 21 million American’s have at least one addiction, but, of those, only 10% will receive treatment.
- Approximately 90,000 people die annually from alcohol use.
- In 2017, approximately 48,000 people died from opioid overdose and an additional 15,000 from a Heroin overdose.
- Cocaine was responsible for one out of every five overdose deaths in 2017.
- More than 90% of people who have an addiction began to drink or use drugs before turning 18.
The instance of substance use, including alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines, and amphetamines, have been steadily rising over the last decade. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic’s emergence has only increased the difficulties for those with pre-existing addictions or a risk factor for addiction. The social isolation and stress related to COVID-19 can increase the susceptibility to substance misuse, addiction, and relapse. The consistent presence of disheartening and worrisome news can increase feelings of depression and anxiety among those with addictions. The increase in these emotional disturbances can lead to people turning to alcohol or other substances as coping mechanisms for stress and other triggers.
It is also important to note that those who abuse alcohol and drugs are at increased risk for COVID-19 and associated complications. Chronic substance use and abuse can lead to immune system compromise, respiratory difficulties, and cardiovascular system changes. All of the above can make one more susceptible to infection, including COVID-19. Addiction (and relapse) thrive on situations like those created due to COVID-19 isolation. If you are dealing with intense cravings, unexpected triggers, or symptoms of relapse, reach out to Bayshore Retreat for help with your addiction.