Mental Health and Addiction

11 Jan 2022

According to current metrics, around 31.9 million Americans are active drug users, totaling to about 11.7% of the general population. If you include alcohol and tobacco, this number increases sharply to 165 million or 60.2%.

Accidental drug overdose is a leading cause of death among persons under the age of 45. Between 1999-2017, over 700,000 Americans died as a result of a drug overdose. Annually, the number of overdose deaths increase at a rate of 4.0%.

For those addicted many experience comorbidity with mental health conditions, most commonly being anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder and psychosis. Among adolescents seeking substance abuse treatment, over 60% meet criteria for an underlying mental health condition.

Clinically speaking, the ongoing substance abuse and mental health crises in the U.S are inextricably linked. Those seeking relief from the excruciating pain of trauma, harsh economic conditions, social pressures and other stressors often self medicate with substances and alcohol as a mechanism for healing or disassociation.

Social isolation or loneliness is a strong indicator for addiction and mental illness. According to Cigna U.S Loneliness index, roughly half of Americans surveyed confirm feelings of isolation sometimes or all the time.

Health, home, purpose and community are the four dimensions recognized as protective and supportive factors in addiction recovery. Through connection, we are nurtured, loved and supported thus strengthening our resolve, confidence and vision for a brighter future. To combat mental illness and addiction effectively, we must expand our existing treatment framework and enhance focus on the social environment as the principle point of intervention. Seeking to uplift and sustain the individual through collective engagement and resolve.

For more information, check out @samhsagov, a leading resource on addiction: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/

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