Addiction Affects 23.2 Million Americans

December 31, 2018
Teenage girl supporting friend at State Line Treatment Services: Addiction Treatment in Ohio

Currently, addiction affects 23.2 million Americans — of whom only about 10% are receiving the treatment they need.

What an incredibly staggering piece of information.  Addiction is a deadly disease that impacts 23.2 million people. And that number is only tracking Americans.  The irony is that addiction targets good people who will struggle with a chronic disease that severely impacts not only them but also their family, friends, employers, teachers, customers…  The list of those affected goes on and on.

And yet there are still so many who choose to view this disease as a character defect. Hard to imagine with all the information about addiction that there are those who do not believe it to be the devastating disease it is.

“Addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease. Brain imaging shows that addiction severely alters brain areas critical to decision-making, learning and memory, and behavior control, which may help to explain the compulsive and destructive behaviors of addiction.”

Nowhere else in the health care industry do we look at those diagnosed with a disease as bad people deserving of their fate.  Yet with addiction sadly there are those who still believe it is a choice; something someone has done to themselves.

It is time to lose the judgment, usually fueled by fear, and embrace addiction for what it truly is.  The sooner we take the SHAME out of this horrific disease the sooner we can increase that 10% to a much higher number.   Then those impacted by addiction will be able to start to get what they truly deserve, a life well lived.

Executive Vice President
Lu Carson, R.N., C.A.R.N.., L.S.W.