Substance Abuse

Alcohol and other drug abuse impacts males, females, all cultures, and every age group from youth to the elderly. Alcohol, while legal when used by adults, can be misused, abused and lead to addiction/alcoholism. Alcoholism and substance abuse are progressive diseases and can lead to chronic health problems such as heart disease, liver failure, and diabetes, not to mention creating significant difficulties in your relationships, and with work or school.

The average age that young people begin using alcohol or other drugs is 12, and in young people, the addiction process occurs much more rapidly than it does in adults. In addition to alcohol, today’s youth are using a larger variety of illegal drugs at a higher frequency than in the past.

The elderly are also at risk of developing alcoholism or other drug dependence. Older patients are more likely to be prescribed long-term and multiple medications, which can lead to unintentional misuse. They are also at risk for prescription drug abuse, in which they intentionally take medications that are not medically necessary.

Many people turn to alcohol or other drugs to cope with stress caused by financial worries, loss of employment, broken relationships and other situations. The use of alcohol and/or drugs over a period of time can lead to physical and mental health symptoms in people who previously had not experienced them.

Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Abuse disorders are common – more than half of the people diagnosed with alcoholism or addiction are also suffering with depression, anxiety or other mental health disorders. Young people with Substance Abuse issues may also be diagnosed with ADHD, Oppositional Defiance or Conduct Disorders, and could eventually develop more significant disorders such as Schizophrenia. Research has shown that when both substance abuse and mental health issues are addressed at the same time, people are more likely to manage their symptoms and live a life of recovery, health and wellness.

SmartCare is partnering with your Health Care Providers to ensure the support you may be seeking.