Addiction is More Common than You Think

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Mental Health
Addiction is Common

Addiction has many faces and can affect anyone regardless of age, race or income. A 2012 study showed that more than 23.9 million Americans over the age of 12 had abused drugs. Youth are particularly at risk for substance abuse, especially those who begin using at an early age.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 20.8 million people over the age of 12 who needed treatment for drug or alcohol abuse didn’t receive it.

“The need for medically supervised care for people struggling with addiction is high,” says Mario San Bartolome, M.D., medical director, Addiction Medicine Program, MemorialCare Center for Mental Health & Wellness, Community Hospital Long Beach. “Detoxification is the first step to recovery, but for many people, detoxing alone can increase their risk of death if an existing medical condition or mental illness is present.”

Making the issue of addiction more complex – is its common connection with mental illnesses. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, studies have suggested that nearly one-third of people with all mental illnesses and approximately one-half of people with severe mental illnesses also experience substance abuse. In addition, more than one-third of all alcohol abusers and more than one-half of all drug abusers are battling mental illness.

These are two independent diseases that have their own characteristics, but when you combine them they become more complicated to treat.

The Addiction Medicine Program at Community Hospital Long Beach offers inpatient treatment in a safe, medical environment for people who are struggling with addiction to a substance, such as alcohol, prescription drugs, sedatives, sleep agents and more. Since the program is part of a hospital, other medical conditions or mental illnesses can be addressed.

“Overcoming addiction is not only a physical process, but emotional,” says Dr. San Bartolome.

Therapists and physicians specializing in addiction medicine meet individually with patients to offer support and provide resources to help patients realize their potential after recovery. 

Benefits of Inpatient Treatment:

  • 24/7 monitoring if medical complications arise 
  • Medical management of withdrawal symptoms to reduce pain or physical discomfort
  • Education and support to prepare patients for long-term recovery – detoxification is the first step

The program is a part of the MemorialCare Center for Mental Health & Wellness at Community Hospital Long Beach, which offers different levels of care, from inpatient to partial hospitalization and outpatient care. This allows the Center to serve as a long-term resource for the community, including the families of patients. For help 24/7, call (855) CHLB-4-HELP.