Addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain in a similar fashion to other mental health disorders. By essentially rewiring the brain and changing the way rewards and pleasure are processed, addiction creates a physical dependency on substances such as drugs or alcohol. In the United States, approximately 23.5 million people suffer from addiction.
This impacts numerous individuals and families, but also has a grave effect on the U.S. economy. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that $700 billion per year is spent on addiction. Between crime, healthcare and costs relating to reduced productivity at work, it’s clear that addiction impacts us all.
Out of the 23.5 million Americans who suffer from addiction, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that only 11 percent actually receives treatment. This is partly due to the cost of rehab. Many individuals fear they cannot afford it and, therefore, do not bother seeking help.