Due to the popularity of shows like My Strange Addiction on TLC, we have been introduced to some rather bizarre addictions. Everything from those who eat unusual objects such as glass, rocks, or even drywall to people addicted to things like plastic surgery, the smell of gas, or even their cars. However, even with shows like this, we still have a problem of addiction in this country.
Addiction crosses all societal boundaries, affects every ethnic group, both genders, and every tax bracket. Thankfully though, most Americans recognize addiction as a disease that can be treated.
Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the U.S. About 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence. More than half of all adults have a family history of alcoholism or problem drinking, and more than seven million children live in a household where at least one parent is dependent or has abused alcohol.
According to national surveys on drug use, an estimated 20 million Americans aged 12 or older used an illegal drug in the past 30 days. This estimate represents 8% percent of the population aged 12 years old or older. Also the use or abuse of prescription drugs, including painkillers, sedatives, and stimulants, is growing. An estimated 48 million people ages 12 and older or 20% of the US population is using prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons.
Alcoholism and drug dependence can affect all aspects of a person’s life. Besides damaging stability, finances, and careers, long-term use of alcohol and other drugs can cause serious health complications to virtually every organ in the body. These addictions impact family, friends and the entire community in which an alcoholic or drug abuser live.
Alcoholism and drug abuse are considered the nation’s number one health issue. Addiction strains the economy, the health care system, the criminal justice system, and threatens job security, public safety, and even marital and family life.
The good news is that no matter how long someone has struggled with alcoholism or drug abuse, there are treatment options. Some have found great success with 12 step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. While others benefit from alcohol treatment centers.
These centers offer around the clock care and help for dealing with detox and overcoming addictions. Focusing on why the addictions are present can go a long way in treating the disease.