About Addiction

About Addiction

Key Facts about Addiction

Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease that can be managed successfully with clinical treatment and lifelong recovery support. Medically known as substance use disorder (SUD), drug and alcohol addiction is not a moral failure and the condition does not result from a lack of willpower.

  • Clinical addiction treatment is known to be as successful in treating the illness as other chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and more.
  • Factors that can lead to the disease of addiction can include brain chemistry, genetics, environment and life experiences, including trauma.
  • Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical to long-term recovery.
  • Addiction is a family disease, and it must be treated with the support of loved ones.
  • Substance use disorder may be managed successfully in recovery with ongoing support.
  • Although addiction is a chronic brain disease that requires treatment, the stigma fosters fear of reaching out for help, ultimately costing lives.
  • Addiction can cause permanent mental and physical disabilities and premature death, especially when left untreated or treated inadequately.
  • Because individuals may be uncertain about entering treatment, taking advantage of available services the moment people are ready for treatment is critical.

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Characteristics of Addiction

How do you know you have a substance abuse problem? According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, key characteristics of addiction include:

  • You cannot stop drinking or using drugs.
  • You are unable to control your behavior due to frequent intoxication from misuse of drugs and/or alcohol.
  • You progressively, desperately crave more and more alcohol or drugs.
  • Your relationships with friends and family are deteriorating.
  • You continue to use despite harmful consequences.

Warning Signs of Addiction

What are the symptoms of addiction? There are several warning signs that can indicate you or someone you care about is suffering with a substance use disorder, including:

  • Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual.
  • Changes in productivity, attitude and focus.
  • Increase in absenteeism and late arrivals.
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
  • Deterioration of physical appearance, personal grooming habits.
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing.
  • Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination.
  • Apathetic attitudes toward broken relationships and the consequences of using drugs and/or alcohol.

Addiction Statistics

  • Despite the fact that we have treatments we know are effective, only one in five people who currently need treatment for addiction actually receives it.
  • The cost of untreated drug and alcohol addiction in the U.S. in a given year is estimated at $276 billion.
  • Removing stigma and increasing awareness about substance use disorder as a treatable chronic illness is essential to reducing the addiction health epidemic.
  • Addiction is the largest preventable and most costly health problem facing the U.S. today, responsible for more than 20% of deaths in the U.S.
  • 5 million adults ages 18+ (10 percent of the U.S. population) are in recovery from drug and alcohol addictions.
  • 40% of all hospital beds in the United States are used to treat conditions related to alcohol consumption.
  • Over half of all American adults have a family history of problem drinking or alcohol addiction.
  • Alcohol is the third-leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
  • Women may more rapidly develop a prescription painkiller dependence than men. They are also more likely to have chronic pain, be prescribed pain relievers, and receive higher doses.
  • According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 19.7 million American adults (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder in 2017.
  • Almost 74% of adults suffering from a substance use disorder in 2017 struggled with an alcohol use disorder.
  • About 38% of adults in 2017 battled an illicit drug use disorder.
  • Genetics, including the impact of one’s environment on gene expression, account for about 40% to 60% of a person’s risk of addiction.
  • Environmental factors that may increase a person’s risk of addiction include a chaotic home environment and abuse, parent’s drug use and attitude toward drugs, peer influences, community attitudes toward drugs, and poor academic achievement.

Learn more about addiction on the Valley Hope Blog


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“Valley Hope saved my life. They know what they are doing, and they really care.”  - Sammie, Valley Hope Alumna

“I can't explain to you the people, the staff, the experiences. The things I let go of. The people I still stay in contact with til this day. Valley Hope changed my entire aspect of life after my addiction completely blinding me of it. I would refer anyone I know to this place, and have been back multiple times to see it.” -Brittany, Valley Hope Alumna

“I highly recommend Valley Hope to anyone that's trying to stop drinking alcohol and doing drugs. All are welcomed here. I now have four years of sobriety. Thanks for helping me get my life back, your staff was kind and loving. They showed me how I can live sober and free.” – Miguel, Valley Hope Alumnus

Freedom from addiction starts here!

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