Results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings and Detailed Tables
As many as half of people with serious mental illnesses develop alcohol or other drug abuse problems at some point in their lives. In light of the extent of mental disorder and substance abuse comorbidity, substance abuse treatment is a critical element of treatment for people with mental disorders. Likewise, treatment of symptoms and signs of mental disorders is a critical element of recovery from substance abuse. (Learn more from The NSDUH Report: Co-Occurring Major Depressive Episode and Alcohol Use Disorder among Adults)
Older people are not immune to the problems associated with improper use of alcohol and drugs, but as a rule, misuse of alcohol and prescription medications appears to be a more common problem among older adults than abuse of illicit drugs. Still, because few studies of the incidence and prevalence of substance abuse have focused on older adults—and because those few were beset by methodological problems—the popular perception may be misleading.
source: Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, 1999
A variety of approaches are used in treatment programs to help patients deal with these cravings and possibly avoid drug relapse. NIDA research shows that addiction is clearly treatable. Through treatment that is tailored to individual needs, patients can learn to control their condition and live relatively normal lives.
Treatment can have a profound effect not only on drug abusers, but on society as a whole by significantly improving social and psychological functioning, decreasing related criminality and violence, and reducing the spread of AIDS. It can also dramatically reduce the costs to society of drug abuse.
Understanding drug abuse also helps in understanding how to prevent use in the first place. Results from NIDA-funded prevention research have shown that comprehensive prevention programs that involve the family, schools, communities, and the media are effective in reducing drug abuse. It is necessary to keep sending the message that it is better to not start at all than to enter rehabilitation if addiction occurs.
source: National Institute on Drug Abuse