Articles of Interest

No One Is Immune From Addiction

Did you know that 19.7 million Americans aged 12 and older struggled with substance use in 2017, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health? Additionally, 8.5 million American adults suffered from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder? Drug abuse and addiction cost American society more than $740 billion annually in lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses, and crime-related costs, according to the 2017 report released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) categorizes addiction as a disease because it changes how the brain responds in situations involving rewards, stress, and self-control. It is “a long-term and relapsing condition,” and like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission and requires proper treatment.

Warning signs of substance use may include:

  • Drastic changes in behavior – secretive, moody, agitated, distancing from family, change in peer group, quitting school clubs/teams
  • Problems at work/school – frequently missing, a sudden disinterest in activities, a drop in grades or work performance, conflicts
  • Lack of interest in clothing, grooming, or looks
  • Sudden requests for money without reasonable explanation or missing money

Certain individuals are more at-risk for developing an addiction. Risk factors may include:

  • Drug use before age 17, including marijuana and alcohol
  • Pain management issues
  • Untreated mental illness including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder

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