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Addiction is a chronic, debilitating disease that impacts the lives of millions of Americans each year. To better understand the far-reaching effects addiction has on individuals, communities, and families, it is beneficial to review some of the statistics associated with addiction. Although statistics provide visual confirmation that the addiction epidemic in America continues to grow, they also shed light on how the disease of addiction permeates all levels of the family and society. It is essential to remember that addiction touches people from all walks of life and all facets of the community. Anyone can struggle with addiction, and anyone who does may need addiction treatment help. 

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Substance Abuse in the United States

Overview of Addiction Demographics in America

For decades, addiction was viewed as a moral failing by society and the medical community alike. It was widely believed those who struggled with addictions to drugs or alcohol did so by choice. Along with these misconceptions came the belief that quitting was possible if one only put their mind to it. Addicts were seen as dirty, hopeless, even perceived as criminals leading to decades of people isolating themselves and hiding their addictions. Today, the views on addiction have changed. Addiction is now seen as a mental disorder that compels someone to repeatedly use or drink despite adverse consequences. Unfortunately, these changing views have done little to curb the growing rate of addiction across the country. 

Today nearly twenty-one million Americans have at least one addiction. Out of those, a small percentage (often less than ten percent) will ever seek or receive addiction treatment. Since the 90s, the rate of annual overdose deaths related to drugs has nearly quadrupled, and over 700,000 people have lost their lives to overdose since 2000. Opioid overdose is responsible for the deaths of 130 people every day. The statistics surrounding alcohol abuse and addiction are equally as staggering. Alcohol is responsible for one out of every twenty deaths annually, equating to almost 90,000 lives lost each year. Similar to drug addiction, those who struggle with alcohol addiction often do not seek or receive treatment. It is estimated that around six percent of American adults have an alcohol use disorder; however, only seven percent of those will ever go to rehab.

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Careers that are prone to addiction

Which Jobs Have the Highest Addiction Rates?

Addiction is an illness that knows no boundaries. It does not care whether you are employed, married, or a parent. It does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, religion, or orientation. It can and does affect anyone. Substance abuse and addiction are thought to cost society billions each year in lost productivity, injuries, accidents, and increase absentee rates due to illness or related challenges. 

Addiction is not strictly a problem for those who struggle with poverty. While it may be true that many in lower-income brackets suffer from higher rates of addiction (often for reasons unrelated to economics), people in higher wage-earning positions are equally as susceptible. Every few years, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducts polls in the American workplace to provide data on the career fields that are most highly impacted by addiction. 

The impact of drugs on the nation’s industry is widespread. The most recent poll divided data into strictly illicit drug use and “all drugs” (including illicit and prescription drugs). When one considers illicit drugs, only the research showed the following data:

  • Food Service- 17.4 percent
  • Construction Workers – 15.1 percent
  • Sales – 9.6 percent
  • Maintenance and repair – 9.5 percent 
  • Office Administration – 7.5 percent

While this is certainly not a comprehensive list, it provides a snapshot of how diverse the career fields are where illicit drug use is seen. Many of these jobs are stressful, fast-paced positions which are understandable difficult for people to manage. For example, food service workers often have to deal face-to-face with impatient or irritable patrons who demand high-quality food at affordable prices with expedited service speeds. Office managers often find themselves responsible for decisions within their business that may impact the future of their staff or the future of the company as a unit. Usually, when stress becomes too challenging to manage, these individuals turn to substances to cope.

When you add prescription addiction to the data, other professions also make the list. For example, doctors and health professionals struggle with addiction in astonishingly high numbers. A survey by Medscape found that 69% of doctors abuse prescription medications. However, doctors are not the only healthcare professionals who struggle with addiction. Between ten and fifteen percent of nurses, pharmacists, and home care aides also battle with addiction. Another career field, where addiction rates are high is lawyers. However, different from the career fields mentioned previously, the addiction problems experienced by those in the legal field are often centered around alcohol. It is estimated that as many as 95% of lawyers who have a substance abuse problem are addicted to alcohol. 

One of the most compelling aspects of this data is how spread out these jobs are along the career spectrum. Addiction, be it to drugs or alcohol, is not reserved for blue-collar or manual labor workers. While low-income careers make “the list,” they are accompanied by white-collar and higher wage-earning jobs such as sales and medicine. This helps to shine a light on how widespread addiction is across the nation. 

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Commonly Addicted groups

Which Groups Have the Highest Addiction Rates?

The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health provides a breakdown of addiction demographic data. When broken down by U.S citizens with an addition over the age of twelve, the survey showed American Indian (or Alaskan Native), Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander and Caucasians are the top three demographic groups at 10.1%, 9.3%, and 7.7% respectively.  The same survey showed that among Caucasians,  alcohol use comprised 67% of substance use disorders. This was followed by Tobacco (29.4%), and illicit drugs at 20.2%. The illicit drug category includes data for marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, opioids, and prescription medication abuse. According to the same survey, most populations in the United States also struggle with alcoholism at far greater rates than other substance abuse disorders. 

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Benefits of Going to a Specialized Rehab

Addiction, like those it affects, is a very individual disease. The addiction treatment programs that are the most successful are those where the treatment plan is designed around the individual’s specific needs. While there are thousands of rehabs across the country, not every rehab is created or functions equally. Each must adhere to specific guidelines set forth by the federal government; however, the addictions they treat can and do vary widely. When one facility provides medically assisted detox or treatment for opioid addiction, another may specialize in different treatments and may not be equipped to serve your needs if you need medical assistance during detox and withdrawal. 

The treatment staff at a specialized rehab are uniquely trained to care for patients with specific treatment needs. They understand and are skilled in the best therapeutic and alternative therapy models for your individual treatment needs. For this reason, it is essential first to understand what you are seeking treatment for. Many who struggle with a substance abuse disorder also have an underlying mental health condition or medical illnesses. Again, not all facilities are suited to the treatment of co-occurring disorders. If you need mental health treatment in conjunction with addiction treatment, it is essential to find a location that can do both. You must find a treatment program that treats both your addiction and you as a whole person. Your chances for achieving sobriety and maintaining long term depend on your ability to successfully complete treatment and thrive in an aftercare setting. 

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How to Find a Specialized Rehab Near You

The process of finding a specialized rehab near you may seem difficult. You may wonder how you know or determine which program is best suited to your needs. The first step in helping narrow down your options may be contacting your primary care provider or current mental health provider to discuss your concerns. After talking about your addiction and any other mental health or medical concerns you may have, your doctor can provide you with advice about addiction treatment. You can also contact the professional staff at My Recovery to seek information about specialized rehabs in your area. Our team has researched thousands of rehabs across the nation, and we understand the services each provides to their patients. Our team can talk to you about your treatment needs and goals. We can also help you decide on the type of treatment that may be best for you. Are you a candidate for outpatient rehab, or would an inpatient residential setting better meet your needs? Do you need medically assisted detox? Are you interested in holistic or alternative therapy options? Do you have a co-occurring mental health condition or medical needs? These are all essential questions to ask yourself when deciding on the ideal specialty treatment center for you. If you are ready to seek addiction treatment, but you aren’t sure where to start, contact My Recovery. Let us help you find a specialized treatment center where you can begin your journey to sobriety. 

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