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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Substance Abuse Diagnoses Increase, But So Do Prescriptions For Addiction Treatment

If you are an addiction treatment professional, then you have probably noticed trends when it comes to the number of people suffering from the disease of addiction and seeking treatment. Now a new study has determined that while the number of those diagnosed with addiction is up, there are also encouraging statistics as to how many patients are seeking treatment.

Study overview

A study was conducted by Joseph W. Frank, MD; John Z. Ayanian, MD, MPP; Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, MPH, with the lead author being Dr. Joseph W. Frank from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. They reviewed two national surveys reviewing data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) from 2001 through 2009.

The study's results were published online on October 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine as a research letter. An overview of the study can be seen here: Management of Substance Use Disorders in Ambulatory Care in the United States, 2001-2009.

Study findings

The authors analyzed 8930 visits, which represented an estimated 42.2 million adult visits which involved substance abuse disorders. Findings point out:
  • Such visits increased 70% from 10.6 million in 2001 through 2003 to 18.0 million in 2007 through 2009.
  • Visits of opioid use disorders increased 6-fold from 772,000 in 2001 through 2003 to 4.4 million in 2007 through 2009, accounting for 7% of all substance use disorder visits in 2001 through 2003 and 25% of visits in 2007 through 2009. 
Dr. Frank estimated that a review of the data indicates 22.5 million US residents are currently dependent on alcohol or drugs. That number represents 6.8% of the US population.

There is some good news

The researchers also point to some good news:
  • When patients were seen by their doctors, the doctors did prescribe medicine to treat the drug and alcohol problems. 
  • These prescriptions were issued to 643,000 patients between 2001 and 2003; this number grew to 3.9 million patients between 2007 and 2009. 
  • Most of these prescriptions were written to treat people with opioid addiction.
  • The most popular prescribed treatment was "talk therapy" (psychosocial therapy, mental health counseling, stress management) which was used for 25 million patients.
The disease of addiction is treatable. Recovery is possible. Stay informed, talk to your primary care physician or if you find yourself in an emergency room suffering from your addiction - be honest with the hospital staff that is trying to assist you through your current acute symptoms.  

The first step (We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable) is all about being honest with yourself and those who are trying to help you.

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1 comment:

  1. Now a new study has determined that Alcohol Treatment Centers while the number of those diagnosed with addiction is up, there are also encouraging statistics as to how many patients are seeking treatment.

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