What Is Addiction?
Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease. An individual struggling with an addiction has developed a serious dependence on a substance or a behavior that interferes with their family bonds, career, social life, health or happiness. Getting and using the substance of choice becomes a central organizing principle in the user’s life. For a person suffering from a behavioral addiction, such compulsive gambling, sexual addiction or an eating disorder, thinking about and acting out the disorder eventually rules the individual’s life.
Addiction is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It tends to run in families and has been linked to childhood trauma. Addiction often co-occurs with psychiatric disorders, as individuals find that drugs and alcohol or a compulsive behavior seems to help them manage their mental health issues. Speak Confidentially with a Journey Advisor at 844-878-1979.
Effective treatment for alcoholism, drug abuse and behavioral addictions requires a multi-tiered, comprehensive plan administered in an outpatient setting or residential treatment center. Treatment usually includes some combination of individual, group, and family therapy, self-help support groups such as 12-step programs, and/or medication (as appropriate).
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Statistics
Addiction is a global problem. Alcohol is abused by 240 million people worldwide – almost 5% of the world’s population. In 2012, 3.3 million deaths, or nearly 6 percent of all global deaths, were caused by alcohol abuse. Globally, an estimated 15.3 million people have a substance use disorder and a similar number are intravenous drug users. In addition, a World Health Organization report estimates that 3.5 to 5.7 percent of the world’s adult population uses opioids, amphetamines, cocaine, non-prescribed psychoactive prescription medication and cannabis. Cannabis is the most commonly used drug (129 to 190 million people), followed by amphetamine-type stimulants, then cocaine and opioids.
In the U.S., drug abuse is one of the most pressing public health issues in modern history. In the last decade it has continued to grow. A government report on fatalities due to drug abuse found that from 2001 to 2013:
- There was a 2.5-fold increase in deaths from prescription drugs.
- There was a 3-fold increase in deaths from prescription opioid pain relievers.
- There was a 4-fold increase in deaths from benzodiazepines.
- There was a 29% increase in deaths from cocaine.
- There was a 5-fold increase in deaths from heroin.
In addition, a government report on alcohol use found that in 2013:
- Alcohol abuse was the third leading preventable cause of death.
- Alcohol abuse accounted for 10,076 traffic fatalities (30.8 percent of overall driving fatalities).
- Nearly 90,000 people died from alcohol-related causes.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Utah
In 2014, 45,528 residents in Utah, where Journey Healing Centers is located, received mental health services, and 16,219 received substance abuse services. Utah ranks lower than the national average in alcohol abuse, but it ranks higher in illegal drug abuse and dependence. Here’s how drug abuse in Utah compared to national averages in 2012-2013:
- 3% of adolescents (12-17) reported prior month illegal drug use (national average: 9.2%).
- 4% adults experienced alcohol dependence (national average: 6.7%).
- 9% of those 12 years or older reported drug dependence (national average: 2.7%).
Signs of Addiction
How do you know when it’s time to get help for a drug problem? Here are some signs of addiction:
- You’d rather do drugs (or engage in other addictive behaviors) than activities you once enjoyed.
- You organize your life around the substance or behavior you’re addicted to.
- You’re unable to stop using despite negative consequences (e.g., your family life is deteriorating, your job is in jeopardy, or your drug or alcohol use is causing financial problems).
- You have developed a tolerance and/or you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
If drugs or alcohol has begun to rule your life, affect your relationships or threaten your health or financial security, it’s time to get help. Speak Confidentially with a Journey Advisor at 844-878-1979.