Substance abuse is a widespread epidemic in America, and drug overdoses have become the leading cause of accidental death in the country. While many people think of stereotypical images when they hear the words “addiction” and “drug abuse,” the truth is that substance abuse is a problem for people in all areas of society.
While in many people’s minds, drug abuse is often associated with the lower echelons of society, some research contradicts that association. Even in the more privileged circles of society, to hear one say, “You wouldn’t believe who has a drug problem,” is more common now than ever before.
Here are a couple of stats to support that:
- One study found that the chance of an upper-middle-class adult being diagnosed with drug or alcohol addiction by age 26 is two to three times higher than the national rate.
- The same study found that affluent kids take stimulant drugs like Ritalin and Adderall at twice the national average, including experimenting more frequently with cocaine.
Risk Factors for Developing Addictions
It’s vital to understand the risk factors facing Americans in all stages of life so we can have a better understanding of how drug abuse effects healthy, family dynamics.
- While some people have a genetic predisposition for drug abuse, this is not a clear sign that such a person will abuse drugs in his or her lifetime.
- When addiction runs in the family, members of that family are at a greater risk for developing drug problems, but it is not a certainty.
- Men are statistically more likely to develop drug and alcohol problems than women, but addiction usually progresses much faster in females.
Social influences are another significant risk factor. People who live in all types of communities across all income brackets deal with social pressures in various ways. While some of these pressures may encourage them to experiment with drugs, other social pressures may have them looking for an escape or a coping mechanism, and drugs offer an easy solution in these situations.
People in lower income brackets may fall into substance abuse for stress relief, while people in higher income brackets with high-pressure careers may abuse drugs to meet the demands of their jobs.
The family also plays an enormous role in developing addictions. Regardless of other factors, when family members create stress or do not form strong bonds with one another, family members who feel alienated or estranged may use drugs to cope.
Additionally, parents who are detached from their children’s lives may not notice the early warning signs of addiction soon enough to make a difference.
Dual Diagnoses Are Common Drug Abuse Effects
People who suffer from mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression or attention-deficit disorder are more likely to develop substance abuse problems. These individuals often begin treating their mental health issues by self-medicating with alcohol or other drugs, and the substance abuse and mental health disorder eventually reinforce each another, creating a cycle of dependency that is very difficult to break.
Drugs are also a common escape for people who experience isolation, anxiety, depression and loneliness. Instead of developing healthy coping strategies, drugs offer an immediate escape from these difficulties and propel users into addiction.
Drug Addiction by Accident
It’s also important to remember that many people become addicted to drugs through no fault of their own. After complex surgeries or serious injuries, victims typically receive pain medications to manage the subsequent pain.
However, keep in mind:
- Painkillers, especially opioids, are extremely addictive and many people who take them develop addictions, even though they were prescribed by and under the care of a doctor.
- Substance abuse takes a heavy toll on the body and mind, and prolonged use of some substances can permanently change how the user’s brain functions.
- Highly addictive drugs can produce cravings and withdrawal symptoms in some users after just one or two doses.
From Drug Addiction to Lifelong Recovery
No matter where you live and who you know, there is one common denominator among us all: People talk. As long as people talk, why not give others and yourself something good to say?
It starts by putting an end to the negative talk that comes with drug addiction. It begins by understanding drug abuse effects on society and how addiction treatment and recovery at TTC Care can be life-changing for patients and everyone they touch.
Because no two addiction cases are the same, no two treatment plans are the same. TTC Care develops individualized treatment plans that embrace the whole person, not just the addiction. Help us change U.S. drug use statistics in sobriety’s favor.