What Substance Abuse Statistics Say about Drug Addiction Relapse

substance abuse statisticsSubstance abuse is a disease. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines drug addiction as a chronic and relapsing brain disorder, wherein the patient continually seeks and consumes dangerous drugs despite the dire effects it has on the body. Substance abuse statistics from NIDA reveal the shocking fact that at least 100,000 Americans die from substance abuse annually.

The good news is that substance addiction can be successfully treated. Tailor-made behavior rehabilitation, coupled with proper medication, usually results in successful treatment. In 2006 alone, NIDA recorded a total of 1.8 million admissions to substance abuse treatment facilities.

However, substance abuse statistics from the same agency also show that more than half of drug rehabilitation patients suffer from relapse. NIDA points out that many patients who have undergone rehabilitation may experience relapse, due to the recurring and chronic nature of the disease.

Substance Abuse Statistics and Relapse Rates

According to a study conducted by NIDA in 2000, substance abuse statistics are similar to statistics for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma and hypertension, especially with regard to relapse rates. As such, NIDA concluded that substance abuse should be treated like the said illnesses, wherein a maintenance medication is prescribed and regular rehabilitation therapies are done.

A study published in 2005 in Psychiatric Services (a monthly academic journal published by the American Psychiatric Association) entitled, “Substance Abuse Relapse in a Ten-Year Prospective Follow-up of Clients with Mental and Substance Use Disorders,” reveals that a third of the patients relapsed to substance abuse a year after treatment, and close to a hundred per cent suffered from relapse in the span of a decade. The study revealed that patients who have undergone rehabilitation for less than three months suffer from relapse more quickly, therefore it can be concluded that longer treatment periods or some form of follow-up treatment would be required.

Substance abuse statistics from various studies and agencies point to one recurring conclusion: patients should not only undergo a one-time drug rehabilitation program; they should also be given continuous rehabilitation treatments throughout the years. As with data for other chronic illnesses, substance abuse statistics point to the disease’s recurring nature. To treat drug abuse, a patient must change deeply embedded behaviors and, understandably, this is not an easy task. NIDA recommends combining recurring medication and continuous therapy for an extended period after rehabilitation to ensure that relapse would be unlikely.

Help and Hope Reflected in Substance Abuse Statistics

substance abuse statisticsWhile an over 50 per cent relapse rate might seem depressing, there is also a glimmer of hope in new substance abuse statistics. A study done by Drugfree.org in partnership with the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services in 2012, calculates that at least 10 percent of former drug dependents who participated in the study consider themselves on the pathway towards recovery.

Applying this finding to the whole country, this could translate to over 23.5 million patients recovering from drug dependence, unquestionably a significant number of individuals. With techniques for substance abuse rehabilitation being employed to help avoid relapse, hopefully positive developments and higher success rates will be reflected in future substance abuse statistics.

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