Addiction Treatment in National Spotlight
The disease of addiction is spreading across America. Nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes, in the U.S., each year and opioid-related overdose deaths continue to surge across the country. This week (October 17-24th) marks National Addiction Treatment Week, a time to raise awareness about the addiction epidemic, focus on evidence-based treatments, and know that recovery is possible.
Alcohol Misuse in the United States
Drinking alcohol is legal (if you are over 21), widely accepted, and even encouraged in our society, so it’s no surprise that alcohol is the most abused drug and the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.1 However, many people may not consider they are drinking excessively or meet the criteria for Alcohol use disorder (AUD). That may be one of the reasons that only about 7 percent of adults ages 18 and older who had AUD in the past year received any treatment in the past year.1
If you or a loved one may be struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s important to take a hard look at drinking behaviors.
Signs of Alcohol Addiction
Recognizing the signs of an alcohol use disorder can help you determine if it’s time to seek help. Some of the signs may include:2
- Spending a lot of time drinking or recovering from the effects of alcohol.
- Continuing to drink regardless of personal, work, or social problems being caused or worsened by the effects of alcohol.
- Persistently expressing a desire to lessen or regulate the use of alcohol but being unable to do so.
- Experiencing cravings or withdrawal symptoms when you don’t have alcohol.
- Having to drink more to achieve the same effect.
- Prioritizing drinking over previously enjoyable or important activities.
Opioid Epidemic in America
Millions of Americans have been affected by the country’s opioid crisis. Opioids are a class of drugs that includes many prescription painkillers (like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, etc.), as well as heroin and the synthetic opioid fentanyl.
Counterfeit pills and drugs, sold illegally on the street, containing fentanyl are the cause of many overdose deaths. Drug dealers cut heroin or cocaine with fentanyl or sell fentanyl in place of other illicit narcotics and pills without the user’s knowledge. In 2020 more than 400 overdose deaths were reported in Rhode Island.
What Is Opioid Abuse?
Opioid abuse means taking the medication in a way other than prescribed by a doctor, such as:2
- Taking opioids in higher doses or more often than prescribed.
- Taking someone else’s prescription.
- Combining opioids with alcohol or other drugs to increase the effects.
The consequences of opioid abuse and untreated opioid addiction can be devastating, but it’s never too late to encourage a loved one to seek help for their addiction.
Benefits of Treatment
You don’t have to quit on your own. Not only can it be uncomfortable but could be dangerous depending on what drugs you’ve been misusing and for how long. While internal motivation is an important part of creating sobriety, in most cases it is not enough successfully achieve long-term abstinence from drugs or alcohol.
National Addiction Treatment Week highlights the effectiveness of evidence-based treatments. It’s important to note, remaining in treatment for an adequate amount of time is critical in treating addiction. Although the appropriate duration of treatment depends on each individual, longer durations of treatment have been found to be associated with the best outcomes. Research shows that most people struggling with addiction need a minimum of three months of treatment to stop or significantly reduce their substance use.3
If you are struggling with addiction and looking for rehab in Rhode Island, AdCare can help kickstart your recovery.
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