Statistics of Substance Use Disorders

In the united States drug use, alcohol use, and tobacco costs over $600 billion annually. These costs account for crime related activity, lost work productivity, and healthcare.  Drug use costs 11 billion in healthcare and 193 billion overall, while alcohol costs 30 billion in healthcare and 235 billion overall.  These numbers are staggering.  Another statistic that is staggering is that out of the 23 million who deal with an substance use and alcohol use disorders only 1 in 9 of those individuals will seek out help.

There are many reasons that individuals do not seek help.  These reason include, stigma about addiction, thoughts that treatment won’t help, and denial about the severity of the addiction according to NIDA (2012).  Substance use disorders and mental health disorders carry shame and embarrassment which affects an individual and their ability to ask for help.  This is slowly changing as treatment is becoming more individualized and client centered.

The myths of substance use disorders are;

1) There is one addiction gene. There is no single gene that causes a substance use disorder.  There are many genes that cause an intolerance or addiction to certain substances.

2) Addiction is for life.  Addiction or Substance Use Disorders are varying in the degrees of severity. An individual may suffer more severity in their substance use disorder than another individual does, which is why treatment needs to be individualized.  There is not one way to recover.

3) Drugs fry your brain.  Just because you have used drugs or alcohol it does not mean your brain is doomed.  Drugs and alcohol do damage the brain and it can take up to 2 years for the brain to heal.  There may be long term effects but generally substance and alcohol use does not cause severe brain damage.

4) You have to hit rock bottom to recover.  This is simply not true.  This myth is dangerous since it implies that an individual has to go to the depths of their substance or alcohol use before they can recover.  Actually the sooner the individual begins the recovery process the better the outcome.

5) Relapse means I am a failure.  Relapse actually means that you need to readjust treatment or coping strategies. Relapse is actually part of the recovery process. Not everyone relapses but many do.  If you relapse you need to get back to treatment and readjust.

There is not one way to recover.  This is a journey that each individual will need to explore and discover the way that fits their life.  This includes making lifestyle changes, gaining a support system, and dealing with past issues that may cause distress.  The individual may also need help with other mental health problems that have not been diagnosed or treated.

If you or a family member is dealing with a substance use disorder or mental health disorder please contact Eagle Ranch Outpatient Services at 435-922-0440.  Eagle Ranch delivers client centered therapies to help individuals gain control of their life.

It always seems impossible…until it is done