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Treatment is effective

The impact of addictions and means of prevention, treatment, & recovery

September is National Recovery Month in the US National Recovery Month is a time dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of substance use and mental disorders. It’s also a time to celebrate those who are in recovery and those who do recover. The goal of the observance month is to educate others that addiction treatment and mental health services are effective, and that people can recover. With respect for this time, we compiled some statistics on addiction disorders to support awareness of these issues and show that individuals are not alone. Recovery is possible.

1. In the US, according to 2005 data, an estimated 22.2 million persons (9.1% of the population aged 12 or older) were classified as abusing or dependent on a substance.

2. Substance abuse causes more deaths, illnesses, accidents, and disabilities than any other preventable health problem.

3. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States, accounting for approximately 443,000 deaths, or 1 of every 5 deaths each year. An additional
8.6 million people will have at least one serious illness caused by smoking.

4. Tobacco use is also related to approximately 5.1 million years of potential life lost (YPLL), consisting of 3.1 million YPLL for males and approximately 2.0 million YPLL for females annually.

5. Alcohol annually contributes close to 100,000 US deaths from drunk driving, stroke, cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, falls, and other adverse effects.

6. Nearly half of all violent deaths (accidents, suicides, and homicides), particularly of men below age 34, are alcohol related.

7. As many as 29% of all children in the US are exposed to familial drug or alcohol abuse, according to some statistical data.

8. About 5 million adults and 3 million youths in the United States meet clinical criteria for a gambling disorder. Yet, there is currently no designated federal funding for prevention, intervention, treatment, or research for gambling disorders, and states are left to adopt varying standards on an ad hoc basis.

National Recovery Month
Michigan Celebrate Recovery Palooza by Sacred Heart. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr.

9. The standardized rate of problem gambling in 2012 ranges from 0.5% to 7.6%, with a mean of 2.3%, according to a comprehensive worldwide review of prevalence studies, (Williams, Volberg, and Stevens, 2012). Above-average rates were found in Belgium and Northern Ireland, with the highest prevalence rates observed in Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong, and South Africa.

10. In a national study in the United States, more than 73% of disordered gamblers met criteria for an alcohol use disorder, 38% for a drug use disorder, 60% for nicotine dependence, 50% for a mood disorder, 41% for an anxiety disorder, and 61% for a personality disorder.

11. High rates of gambling pathology have been identified among prisoners, probationers, and parolees. One study reported that 34% of non-imprisoned participants who were on remand, probation, or parole at the time of the study met criteria for disordered gambling, and 38% did so for problem gambling. About 25% of those surveyed endorsed gambling as a key contributor to their offense, and nearly 50% of respondents reported obtaining money illegally to gamble. Another study reported that about 20% of newly sentenced inmates claimed their crime was gambling-related, 21% met criteria for gambling disorder at the time of assessment,
and 16% did so in the six months before going to prison.

Less than one-fourth of all individuals who need help for their abuse or dependence on alcohol or other drugs receive treatment. Nonetheless, studies indicate that for those who do obtain treatment, treatment does work. Gambling disorder is an addiction that is often not sufficiently included in discussions about addictions. Gambling is seldom included in routine screenings in schools, mental health centers, health settings, child welfare agencies, senior centers, or other areas.


Featured image credit: Michigan Celebrate Recovery Palooza by Sacred Heart. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr.

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