Ten Helpful Facts Alcohol and Other Drug Misuse And Addiction

  • Addiction is surprisingly common. One out of eight Americans live with some form of addiction. This includes 30 million people with alcohol and other drug addictions.
  • Starting young matters. Heavy misuse damages development and may indicate inherited propensity for continued problems. 1700 college students die each year due to binge drinking.
  • One out of four Americans drink and drug beyond safe measures but are not yet dependent or chronic misusers. These heavy users cause most social and property damage but are seldom professionally informed of their at-risk status.
  • Addiction is a brain disease with physical manifestations. Physical cravings for alcohol and other drugs accompany a mental obsession. Symptoms include:

    • Inability to reduce or stop misusing after first drink or drug.
    • Obsessive worrying about supply.
    • Harmful health outcomes.
    • Inappropriate, often illegal, behavior.
    • Isolation and mood swings.
  • High tolerance in early use indicates high potential for addiction.
  • Unsafe drinking is five drinks for men, or four drinks for women or people over 65. A drink is 1.5 oz. of spirits or 12 oz, of beer. It takes about one hour for the body to process one drink.
  • Seven out of ten people who drink or drug too much are employed and have health insurance. Unfortunately, these supports (including insurance) are gone for most before seeking medical attention.
  • Hope for recovery is strongest for people in "heavy use" phase, before dependence. When professional brief interventions occur, more than 60 percent change their consumption and avoid future health damage.
  • Recovery is a process addressing medical issues, adjusting attitudes, and building supports and defenses. There are many paths to recovery, including support groups, professional therapy, faith practices, and individual adjustment.
  • The best start on a recovery path is a frank, honest discussion with a family doctor. A short and simple "audit" can suggest education, assessment, or intensive treatment. AQUILA RECOVERY CLINIC offers free assessments when recommended by a physician.