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Is Addiction Neglected by the US Medical Community?

According to Huffington Post, addiction is the most neglected disease in the United States medical system. What evidence do they have? They say that:

  • Nicotine addiction, alcoholism, drug dependence – these issues affect more than 40 million Americans over the age of 12. That’s more than the number of Americans fighting heart problems (27 million), cancer (19 million), or diabetes (26 million).
  • An additional 80 million Americans actively abuse alcohol and other drugs, including tobacco.
  • Despite the high numbers of Americans struggling with addiction, only $28 billion was spent on treating people with the disorder. Comparatively, $107 billion was spent on heart disease, $87 billion was spent on cancer treatment, and $44 billion was spent on diabetes treatment.
  • It is estimated that only 10 percent of those who need addiction treatment for alcohol and drugs get any kind of medical care whatsoever. Very few of those who do receive treatment do not receive comprehensive and evidence based care that has demonstrated successful results.

The numbers don’t add up. Why is more money being spent on diseases that affect fewer people? Some say that it’s because fewer people who are living with an addiction seek treatment. Others believe that it’s because so many still view addiction as a moral issue and therefore less deserving of a financial investment.

No matter what the cause, a five-year study released by CASA Columbia called “Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap Between Science and Practice,” shows that there is most certainly a huge difference between how other chronic illnesses are addressed by the American medical community and how addiction – and addicts – are treated.

There are addiction treatment programs that do provide effective and evidence based treatment that can help those who struggle with addiction to stop abusing drugs and alcohol. However, there is a high rate of relapse among those who don’t have ongoing support after returning home and there is still no cure or even a standardized treatment protocol that has had success across the board.

All we do know is that there are a number of options in treatment and that everyone is different – different combinations of available services will be more effective in certain situations. Are you ready to get the help you need to beat drug addiction? Contact us at The Orchid to learn more about your options in addiction treatment.

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Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: ARK Behavioral Health, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

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