With a U.S. economy inching laboriously back from recession with a flagging job market in tow, we should be sensitive to hidden costs of this “lifestyle choice.” In a perfect world, we would weigh the right to drink excessively against the $94.2 billion in tax dollars that we spend every year to pay the costs of alcoholism. We should weigh the collective choice against the 1.9 million public school teachers we could hire with that $94.2 billion — or the million public parks that money could build for communities across the country, or the million students we could put through school. And we’d think hard about what cultural shift could moderate this “lifestyle choice” before it becomes disease.
Drug addiction is defined as a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.3 It is possible to be physically dependent upon a drug without having an addiction to the substance. However, when addiction is an issue, the negative consequences experienced during drug abuse become overwhelming, which makes it impossible for the patient to function in relationships with others, at work, at school or in the community.
Drug abuse statistics can be alarming, but the numbers also show a potential for help and healing. The Substance Abuse and MEntal Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Survey on Substance Abuse and Health states that while 21 million Americans aged 12 and over needed drug or alcohol treatment in 2016, only 3.8 million received the help they needed at a specialized treatment facility. Other research sources on drug addiction show that:
What kind of counseling and community service programs is available through the Treatment Center?  Do they offer private, group, in-house, and outpatient (after-care) counseling services?  How much is the family involved in the therapeutic process?  What is the ratio of staff to patient load?  Are all staff located onsite?  How many beds does the Treatment Center contain?  Is the Treatment Center a fully licensed facility through the state?  Do all medical and counseling personnel hold credentials from nationally recognized schools?  How does one pay for treatment received from an In-House Center?
For example, someone with bipolar disorder that suffers from alcoholism would have dual diagnosis (manic depression + alcoholism). In such occasions, two treatment plans are needed with the mental health disorder requiring treatment first. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 45 percent of people with addiction have a co-occurring mental health disorder.
Substance abuse therapy: Used as a part of many inpatient and outpatient programs, therapy is one of the cornerstones of drug addiction treatment. Individual, group and family therapy help patients and their loved ones understand the nature and causes of addiction. Therapy teaches coping strategies and life skills needed to live a productive, sober life in the community. For individuals with a co-occurring mental illness, intensive psychotherapy can also address psychiatric symptoms and find the underlying issues that contribute to addiction. Inside Shalom House, Australia’s ‘strictest’ drug rehabilitation | Australian Story
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