The Irony of Drug and Alcohol Addiction

alcohol addiction substance abuseNearly one in 10 American adults and teens has a drug or alcohol abuse problem; and sadly, only one in 10 Americans who need help with substance abuse issues will seek professional treatment.

Prolonged exposure to alcohol and drugs alters the brain in ways that result in powerful cravings and a compulsion to use. These brain changes make it extremely difficult to quit using by sheer force of will. But that doesn’t mean someone with addiction issues is a helpless victim.

The good news is: Brain changes associated with addiction can be treated and reversed through engaging in therapy and other treatments, taking appropriate medication as prescribed, and leading a healthy, sober lifestyle.

Click to View Gateway's Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Families

Click to View Gateway’s Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Families

So, if addiction can be successfully treated, why are roughly 90 percent of Americans ignoring their issues with alcohol and/or drug dependency? Tragically, that’s the irony of addiction.

There are major hurdles to overcome before people acknowledge they are ready for substance abuse treatment. Denial, stigma, aversion to change, understanding treatment options, and cost of care are just a few.

But there is hope. The Affordable Care Act now makes substance abuse treatment accessible to more people through their insurance benefits. And effective outpatient treatment allows adults to continue working while receiving treatment.

For more information, visit RecoverGateway.org/Roadmap to get a free copy of our new family and parent guide, “Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse.”

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