Medicines are an essential part of healthcare, and modern medicines allow physicians to treat their patients without operating them. This was not the case not that long ago, as diseases like pneumonia and polio were like death sentences in the early and mid-1900s, but thanks to medication, these diseases, along with many others, were minimized significantly. Although we now have an organized system of medicines, this system came into action through trial and error, meaning the drugs that are now considered illicit were once sold to the general public. Unsurprisingly, plenty of people were hooked on these substances because of the human desire to experience pleasure at every instance, regardless of the cost, and these are some interesting facts about substance abuse:
1. Uncontrollable Compulsion
While addiction and compulsion are two entirely different terms, once a person becomes addicted to a substance, uncontrollable compulsions arise towards a particular drug. According to experts, this occurs because of our brain’s neuroplasticity. As the brain is capable of changing the neuron pathways based on repetitive action, it is rewired after or during the administration of drugs. Once a person feels euphoria or pleasure due to a drug, the desire to remain in that state is how uncontrollable compulsion becomes a never-ending cycle. This is the reason most substance abuses revolve around prescription medicine, as they release a certain amount of dopamine, the feel-good chemical.
2. Fear but Never Boredom
Normally, we think of addicts as if they wish to quit drugs each day; however, the uncontrollable desire and withdrawals cause them to keep coming back for more. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. According to statistics, a large number of addicts are well-aware of their conditions, yet don’t wish to quit because they believe living a sober life is too boring and has nothing exciting to offer. Interestingly, some also suffer from nifaliophobia, the fear of being sober. Whereas de-addiction programs only provide a certain kind of psychological help, individuals with nifaliophobia need counseling to overcome this fear before anything else.
3. Reputation is Priority
Substance abuse has always been portrayed as a negative lifestyle that not only affects the user but also their family and friends. While this approach worked in the past, over the years of projecting such an image has led thousands of addicts to not give up drugs. A lot of addicts feel angry at the thought that they are being hated by the general public because they are unable to control their urges regarding a substance. Meanwhile, others embrace the addiction and worry about their reputation as an addict due to these awareness commercials.
4. Not limited to Adults
When we think of substance addiction, the mass consensus is that only adults, particularly, over the age of 30 are addicted to some sort of substance; however, the average age of an abuser is not even 18, as most individuals start experimenting with drugs at the age of 13, this makes them extremely vulnerable to addiction. According to American Addiction Centers, nearly 60 million children under the age of 15 used an illicit drug in 2019, and in the following year, over 130 million teenagers of the same age were becoming dependent on alcohol.
5. Just Quit It
Since most addicts are under the age of 18, parents are their first helpers. Sadly, most parents are unaware of how to approach the situation, and more often than not, they simply ask their child to simply quit the drugs, which depending on the addiction can be impossible for some individuals. Therefore, it is best to seek professional help regardless of the duration of substance abuse and the age of the abuser.
6. Alcohol at the Top
Alcohol is a legal drug in the majority of the world, and unsurprisingly, this constitutes it being the most abused drug as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on average 95,000 deaths occur each year due to alcohol, which makes it the third top cause of death in America. Moreover, nearly 35 billion alcoholic drinks are consumed every year by Americans alone. Also, binge drinking is an ever-growing problem throughout the world, as 1 in every 6 adults in the United States actively binge drink.
7. Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse
Another report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than 30% of people who assault their families are drunk during the act, and nearly 90% abuse some sort of drugs on the same day of domestic violence. If that wasn’t enough, 42% of victims end up relying on alcohol to overcome the trauma.
8. Death is just a Number
While some addicts receive professional help to stop substance abuse, not all of them are equally fortunate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a report that provides the number of people who died from 1999 to 2019 due to drug overdose. This report shows that nearly 841,000 people lost their lives due to drugs.
9. Compromised Work Performance
It is scientifically proven that drugs alter both the brain and motor function of the body, which makes it nearly impossible to work efficiently while being intoxicated. According to an estimation, usage of illicit substances can reduce the work performance of an individual up to 60%. Still, this doesn’t stop people from administering drugs before work. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, nearly 19% of Americans were reported to be using substances like methamphetamines, cocaine, and marijuana during working hours in 2018.
10. Financial Loss
When it comes to losing money, most people think that only the addict is losing money; however, it is estimated that nearly $700 billion are lost annually because of substance abuse in the United States alone. This translates to an increased cost of necessities like healthcare, therefore, it is not just tied to a single individual but affects the entire system.