The shocking reality of drug and alcohol abuse today. Both prescription and illegal drugs can be physically and psychologically addicting and are commonly abused in the United States. Between 2010 and 2012, 48% of those ages 12 and up had used illicit drugs at one point in their lives, with 58% in the 18 to 25 bracket still using them. While drug use declined slightly (to 49%) among those over 26, it is frightening to see that the vast majority of those who ever begin to abuse drugs will continue to do so for much of their remaining life, though the particular drug abused may change. Hallucinogens, cocaine, pain relievers, and psychotherapeutic drugs all topped a 10% abuse rate, but by far the most common is marijuana at 43%. Desire for the euphoric relaxation or excitation induced by such drugs consumes ones thoughts, bank account, health, and whole life, and yet the person so craves that chemical that they ever search to obtain more of the very thing that is killing them.
It is estimated that the annual combined costs of alcohol and drug abuse amount to an estimated $428 billion in lost or under-performed labor, increased law enforcement activities, and medical and hospital expenses. Surprisingly, less than 10% ($41 billion) of this toll is spent on health care. This illustrates the wide reaching repercussions of substance abuse. Like ripples that spread from a stone thrown in a pond, the detriments of drug and alcohol abuse reach far beyond their immediate effects. The financial cost is not even the worst of it; the neglect and abuse of family and other relationships and the potentially permanent harm the abuser does to his own body and mind are far more serious consequences than even the huge monetary burden. Not to mention that each addict fails to reach their full potential in life.
Prevention, Causes, and Symptoms of Drug Addiction
Elaborate DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) controls on prescription drugs, persistent law enforcement activities against illegal drugs, and educational campaigns at schools and in the media combine to counter drug abuse. Yet, peer pressure, depression, and the temptation to disregard recommended doses of prescription drugs often lead to drug abuse. When tolerance to and need of the drug develops, withdrawal symptoms such as inability to sleep, pain, and trembling will ensue between doses.
Treatment for Drug Addiction
Drug abuse rehabilitation measures can often be learned and implemented at a local drug addiction treatment center. Services offered at such facilities include the following:
- Detoxification of drug-related chemicals in the body
- Gradually weaning the patient off of the drug
- Temporarily moving the patient to a less harmful drug in some extreme cases
- Keeping the patient in a drug-free environment during treatment
- Investigation into past history to seek causes of drug abuse
- Looking for the root motivation behind the drug use
- Individual and group counseling sessions
- Strategy planning to avoid a repeat performance upon release
Despite the disruption of husband-wife, parent-child, and friend-to-friend relationships, liver damage, blood sugar and sexual hormonal dysfunction, DUIs and loss of driving privileges, and a hefty financial burden, addicts press on to seek out and consume large amounts of alcoholic beverages for the satisfaction of their intense cravings. Once hooked, it is a habit hard to kick. In 2012, 88% of all American adults had at one time consumed alcohol, 56% within the last month, and 25% had gone on a drinking binge within the last month. It is estimated that 10% of men and 5% of women are alcoholics, but that only 8% of such get help at a rehabilitation center. Escape through the bottle is a common, but ultimately ineffective, means of dealing with life’s woes and worries. Its consequences are dire and wide ranging.
Prevention, Causes, and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
The banning of alcohol consumption for those under 21, strict laws on drinking while driving, and some media attention contribute to an attempt to curb alcoholism. Admittedly, there seems less of a strong push here as there exists against drug abuse, perhaps because of the greater acceptability of this form of substance abuse in many social circles. Peer pressure, learning to use and abuse alcohol from one’s parents while growing up, and the raw addictive power of this legal and accessible drug all are causes of alcoholism. The symptoms of addiction are essentially like those of other drugs, the addict being unable to feel content until he or she has obtained another round of alcoholic beverage.
Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
Many times when addiction to alcohol and its consequences reach a climax, persons are pressured by others or assigned by a court a stay in an alcohol rehabilitation center. It is unfortunate more do not of their own accord seek out all possible help, and before things reach a crisis stage. Some services offered at alcohol rehabilitation clinics are:
- Counseling Seminars
- Outpatient and Follow-Up Care
- Family and other Group Support Teams
- Medications that Reduce Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
- Relapse Prevention Strategies
Drug and alcohol addiction are common and serious problems in the United States of America, and much rehabilitation treatment is at the addict’s disposal. One who is addicted to these substances would do well to seek help from experienced professionals who may be able to help them deal with the root causes of addiction, as well as implement stop-gate methods. We know it is possible to kick the habit, since many have done it before, but it is often a long, difficult process. Alcohol and drug rehab centers offer assistance that can help those who see their need to find a way to change.