Research has shown that there is a correlation between substance abuse and mental health problems. For example, alcohol dependence has been found to be twice as prevalent among individuals with psychiatric disorders as those without. Many youth engage in substance abuse to cope with existing anxieties or stress. The use of drugs, especially in individuals susceptible to mental illness, can lead to or aggravate emotional and behavioral disorders.
The best way to confront adolescent addiction or substance abuse begins with prevention. But where prevention fails, treatment can succeed. However, the stigma associated with drug and substance addiction, which often inhibits individuals from seeking out treatment, is possibly the greatest challenge experts face in dealing with the issue. By creating awareness that addiction is a physical disease of brain and body, the hope is to push through the barriers that hold so many back from recovery.
Take a look at this infographic created by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, to find out just what makes addiction a disease that affects millions.