About Addiction

Addiction is a chronic disease in which the urge to drink, do drugs or engage in a certain behavior interferes with other activities and affects the quality of your life and the lives of your loved ones. Addiction doesn’t usually happen overnight. In most cases, it’s a gradual process that starts with casual use, which progresses to regular use, then compulsive use.

Researchers don’t fully understand why one person becomes addicted to alcohol, drugs or a behavior, while another does not, but most believe that addiction is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. That is, we are born with varying levels of predisposition to become addicted, and we also inherit certain personality and emotional characteristics that can make us more prone to addiction. Then, certain environmental influences, such as early exposure to addictive behavior by parents or loved ones, or childhood trauma, such as abuse or neglect, adds to the addiction risk. Speak Confidentially with a Promises Scottsdale Recovery Advisor at 888-478-0036.

Do You Have an Addiction?

How do you know when it’s time to get help for a drug problem? Here are some signs of addiction:

  • You’ve tried to stop using but can’t.
  • Your substance use has caused absences at work or school.
  • Your drug use is threatening your job, health, financial security or important relationships.
  • You’ve lost interest in activities you once enjoyed.
  • Your life revolves around getting and using your drug of choice.
  • Your family members are upset and want you to quit.

Addiction is a progressive disease — that is, it gets worse over time and requires treatment at varying levels, depending on the duration and severity of drug use. Treatment options include self-help support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous; outpatient treatment; and comprehensive care at a residential drug rehab facility. Alcoholism and drug addiction is often treated with cognitive behavioral therapy in individual and group settings, supplemental alternative therapies, 12-step self-help support groups, and medication, when indicated.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse in the U.S.

Alcoholism and drug addiction is both a national problem and a state problem. A report from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism notes that in the U.S., alcohol abuse is the third leading preventable cause of death and claims nearly 90,000 lives each year. In addition, addiction to prescription and non-prescription drugs has grown markedly in the last decade. A government report on fatalities due to drug abuse notes that from 2001 to 2013, there was a 2.5-fold increase in deaths from prescription drugs, a 3-fold increase in deaths from prescription opioid pain relievers, a 29% increase in deaths from cocaine and a 5-fold increase in deaths from heroin. Speak Confidentially with a Promises Scottsdale Recovery Advisor at 888-478-0036.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Arizona

Arizona exceeds the national average in alcohol abuse and illegal drug use. The state ranks sixth in the country for prescription drug abuse and drug overdose deaths, with an overdose death rate in 2010 of 17.5 per 100,000 people, as compared with a national rate of 12.4 per 100,000. Arizona’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program notes that in 2010, 10.4 percent of the state’s youth and 13 percent of its adults reported misusing prescription drugs in the prior month, usually opioid painkillers. Arizona has also experienced a sharp increase in opioid-related emergency room visits.

Here’s how Arizona compares to national averages in drug and alcohol addiction:

  • Adults who report having abused alcohol in the previous year: 7.2 percent versus a national average of 6.7 percent.
  • Adults who report using illegal drugs in the prior year: 3 percent versus a national average of 2.7 percent.
  • Adults who report heavy alcohol use (five or more drinks at one time, on five or more days in the past month): 6.2 percent versus a national average of 6.8 percent.
  • Adults who report binge drinking (having five or more drinks in a few hours for men): 14.5 percent versus a national average of 14.7 percent.
  • Youth ages 12-17 who report illegal drug use: 11 percent versus 9.2 percent nationwide.
  • Youth ages 12-17 who see no risk from having five or more drinks once or twice a week: 61.1 percent, which is similar to national figures.
  • Youth ages 12-17 who see no risk from smoking marijuana once a month: 78.3 percent, versus the national average of 74.7 percent.