Drug and Alcohol Addiction Facts and Statistics

Addiction ruins lives, tears apart families and even causes deaths. It affects millions of Americans and costs the United States billions in treatment, lost productivity and human lives every year. Yet, many people do not understand what addiction is or how it begins.

The more a person knows about drug and alcohol addiction, the better the chances are for preventing or recovering from substance dependence. Learn what you need to know about addiction in our resource wiki.

How Does Addiction Happen?

A common initial reaction to addiction is to think that it stems from someone’s lack of willpower, mental capacity or from an affinity for getting high. While substance abuse sometimes begins with a person’s desire to escape reality, addiction is a brain disease that can happen to anyone, anytime.

Anyone can become a victim of drug or alcohol addiction, regardless of age, gender or income. Addiction can occur at any age, but often starts when a person is young. Risk factors for addiction include mental health problems, including anxiety or depression, as well as trouble at home, work or school. If the home is an unhappy place or parents suffer from a drug or alcohol addiction, there is a higher risk of children and teenagers becoming addicts.

Addiction can run in families, both genetically and by association. Your genetic makeup can make you more susceptible to addiction, just as being around family members who do drugs or consume alcohol can. Nobody starts taking drugs or drinking alcohol expecting to become addicted. Addiction is something outside of a person’s control.

Addiction vs. Habit

Addiction is not simply a bad habit, although a habit can turn into addiction over time. Many people take prescription drugs or drink alcohol without any significant issues. They have control over their habits.

Others, however, become obsessed with the habit and lose control of their choices. This is addiction. It has a psychological or physical component that makes it impossible to stop, while a person with a certain habit can stop at any time. Under the right – or wrong – circumstances, a habit can swiftly evolve into full-blown addiction.

Addiction in the United States: Facts and Statistics

Drug and alcohol addiction is a growing problem across the United States, with almost every state reporting increases in addiction rates – particularly involving prescription painkiller and heroin addiction – in recent years. Many factors contribute to the rise in addiction numbers, including lack of education and awareness.

Learning the risks and facts of addiction can help prevent these problems from starting. Here are a few facts about addiction in the United States:

  • Emergency department visits for misuse or abuse of pharmaceutical drugs more than doubled from 2004 to 2011.
  • In 2014, about one in 10 Americans had used an illicit drug in the last 30 days.
  • There were 139.7 million alcohol drinkers in 2014, including 60.9 million binge drinkers and 16.3 million heavy drinkers.
  • About 21.5 million people in the United States reported having a substance use disorder in 2014.

Four main categories of substances that carry a risk of addiction: alcohol, illicit drugs, over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications. Learn about each and find out how The Treatment Center can help you or a loved one recover from addiction.

Alcohol Addiction and Alcoholism

Approximately 16.6 million Americans struggle with alcoholism. Yet, more than 95 percent of alcoholics do not believe they need treatment for their addiction. It is immensely important to educate others about the dangers of alcohol abuse and addiction, and to encourage seeking out professional treatment for alcoholism before it’s too late.

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Addiction to Illegal or Illicit Drugs

Heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy are common drugs that are tied to addiction. These drugs have strong effects on the brain, changing its chemistry and making addiction almost inevitable. Heroin, one of the strongest and most dangerous drugs, has seen a frightening rise in circulation in recent years due to the surge in prescription opioids in the United States.

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Over-the-Counter Drug Addiction

Many people do not realize the addiction potential of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs such as diet pills, cough syrup, etc. The legality of these drugs deceives some users into thinking they are safe and makes it easier for younger individuals to get their hands on them. Learn the dangers of misusing OTC drugs and how easily a habit can turn into addiction.

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Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drugs such as opioids, benzodiazepines, antidepressants and sleep aids have become popular sources for addiction in the last decade-plus. For instance, prescription painkiller sales have increased by more than 300 percent since 1999. The rate of overdose is more common with painkillers than cocaine and heroin combined.

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Seeking Help for Drug and Alcohol Addictions

If you or a loved one struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, The Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches is ready to provide professional, individualized treatment. Our highly qualified and caring staff understands what you’re going through and can offer the help needed to regain control of your or your loved one’s life. Contact our highly respected facility in Florida to begin your journey toward healing.

With Drug and Alcohol Use on the Rise in Every State, Now Is the Time to Help Yourself or a Loved One Get Back on Track!

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