Facts about Addiction

ADDICTION IS A DISEASE…not a choice
Addiction is a progressive disease which continues to worsen without intervention. Addiction is a long-lasting, chronic illness which has many far reaching medical impacts such as diabetes, liver disease, kidney failure, and accidental injuries. Over time, cognitive impairments are evident. Without appropriate treatment of this disease, it may result in premature or accidental death.

HOW DOES ADDICTION HAPPEN?
SOME ARE MORE VULNERABLE
40-50% Genetic predisposition. Addiction is a no fault disease, some can enjoy alcohol without consequences and some cannot. If Research demonstrates if you have a family history of addiction chances of you developing an addiction increase by 40-50%. The highest prevalence is father to son followed by father to daughter, mother to son, and finally mother to daughter.

50-60% Environmental. Surrounded by using peers or family, cultural acceptance, early onset of use, poor nutrition, increased stress, poor coping skills, and chronic illness are but a few of the environmental factors that increase the risk of developing a chemical dependency.

USE CAUSES BIO-CHEMICAL CHANGES
Brain Chemistry becomes altered after significant use, losing the ability to produce proper “feel good” chemicals, such as dopamine or endorphins. Simply put, the brain allows the substance to do for the brain what it used to do for itself. This results in craving and symptoms of withdrawal, such as moodiness, sweating, nausea, and shaking.
Habitual Use can also result in the development of chemical dependency despite genetic predisposition or environmental factors. The bottom line: if you use enough, long enough, your brain develops an addiction.

“It is not I who become an addict, it is my body.” ~Jean Cocteau

ALCOHOL IS THE NATION’S MOST COMMONLY ABUSED DRUG
Alcoholism does not discriminate. This disease affects everyone and anyone, whether it is you, a family member, or a friend. Legally and culturally accepted, alcohol use, abuse and dependency is at an all time in this country. In Montana, alcohol addiction is one of the highest in the nation.

SUICIDE
More than 50% of suicides occur while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Montana consistently has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation, well over two times the national average.

OPIATES
Opiates are one of the fastest growing addictions across the nation; so fast, that the CDC recently declared opiate addiction an epidemic. In Montana, women over 40 years old are the fastest growing group developing opiate addiction. Research shows the likelihood of long- term recovery increases with Inpatient treatment and continued care.

WHO DOES ADDICTION AFFECT?
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY DISEASE
Addiction does not discriminate, it crosses all socioeconomic classes. We know that 10% of any given population is engaged in substance addiction. The numbers are difficult to argue with, both on the national level and here in Montana. Take a look:

FOR EVERY 100,000 MONTANANS
16% of those need treatment: 16,000 Montanans
Only 10% receive it: 1,600
Western Montana: 6,200 estimated need inpatient treatment
IP Beds in Montana: 98
IP Beds in Western Montana: 0

NATIONAL COST OF UNTREATED ADDICTION: $1,000,000,000,000
Approximately one trillion dollars are spent annually in the United States as a result of untreated addiction. Affecting our health care system, criminal justice system, and our social service systems. Untreated addiction affects us all.

1,500 DEATHS PER DAY NATIONWIDE
Occur and are directly related to alcohol, tobacco and other drug use and addiction. This is more than:
America’s wars
Natural catastrophes
Traffic accidents
…combined

This figure does not include the thousands of individuals admitted to hospitals, psychiatric facilities, jails, and prisons, or divorce courts daily.

$642,000,000 – Annual Cost in Montana

Looking at alcohol abuse only, Montanans spend $642 per person per year to provide additional support to:
The criminal justice system,
Health care costs,
Legal and insurance expenses,
Alcohol and drug related incidents, and
Lost productivity in the workplace
…all attributed to untreated addiction.

Source – Patrick Barkey The Economic cost of Alcohol Abuse in Montana 2009; Steve Seninger, PhD Economic Cost of Alcohol-Related Vehicle Crashes 2010 Bureau of Business and Economic Research University of MT.

Breakdown of costs:
Alcohol induced medical care: $100.7 million
Criminal justice system-legal jails courts: $49.1 million*
Early mortality-lost earnings, disease/vehicle accidents: $296.8
Lost productivity: 53.3%
Treatment costs: $10.7 million – all types
*Law enforcement: $19.8M; Courts: $10M; Prison: state-county: $19.3M

DOES TREATMENT REALLY WORK?
We know that recovery from alcohol and drug addiction is a process that requires consistent attention and monitoring, much like diabetes, high blood pressure, or asthma. Relapse can occur in addiction recovery just as it can in other physical diseases. While relapse is possible, the advantage of receiving treatment for addiction is the individual has learned skills to avert relapse and develop a solid support system for their recovery. If recurrance of use does happen, the skills developed while in treatment help get the individual back on track with recovery as opposed to re-establishing a pattern of use.

Relapse Rates – Similar for Chemical Dependence and Other Chronic Illnesses
Type 1 Diabetes: 30-50%
Hypertension: 50-70%
Asthma: 50-70%
Chemical Dependence: 40-60%

A diabetic may eat sugar or one with asthma or hypertension may not adhere to treatment protocols. Is that a relapse?