What is Substance Use Disorder? And Why Should You Care?
Substance use disorder (SUD), despite the many misperceptions about it, is an illness. Per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home.” And SUD is widespread. SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, reveals 20.7 million Americans, or approximately 8 percent of the U.S. population – need substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. However, only 4 million people (or 19 percent of those with SUD) receive treatment. But the truth is, SUDs affect everyone.
For individuals with SUD, the SAMHSA Survey outlines “significant impairments” they often experience as a result, including health problems, disability, and problems at work, school, or home.
For the families of those 20 million untreated Americans, the emotional stress caused from worry, anxiety, anger or embarrassment takes an immense toll. Often these families also experience economic strain if their family member loses their job because of SUD-related work performance issues.
For our healthcare system, people with untreated SUDs represent a substantial burden. For starters, people with untreated SUD are twice as likely to be admitted to emergency departments as people who do not have the disorder. Furthermore, untreated SUD often leads to an occurrence of chronic health conditions and poorer health outcomes for individuals.
For society as a whole, SUDs are an epidemic. The number of alcohol-related deaths are on the rise in the United States, more than doubling from 1999 to 2017, as reported by the online death certificates mentioning alcohol more than doubled from 35,914 in 1999 to 72,558 in 2017. In 2017 alcohol played a role in 2.6% of all deaths in the United States. (The journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.) And according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, in 2017, more than 70,200 people died in the United States by overdose.
For employers, the impact of lost productivity due to SUDs has been projected to be $180 billion annually.
One of the ways we can address, the devastating impact of SUDs is by providing better access to treatment. At Lionrock, we want to remove barriers to accessing treatment. Some of the top reasons people report for not seeking help include:
- No health insurance
- Fear of stigma at work
- Fear of stigma in their communities
We believe telehealth is one of the most effective ways to reach and treat people with SUDs. It’s also one of the most effective ways to support life in recovery. Why?
- It’s affordable. Even for people without health insurance, we can create private pay packages that fit most budgets.
- It’s private. With a telehealth solution, people can seek and receive treatment from the privacy of their home. Let’s face it, getting help for alcohol or drug addiction takes courage. Receiving treatment from a private, comfortable and familiar setting, reduces a major barrier to seeking help.
- It’s flexible. When you take away the need to commute to and from treatment and you add in options for different times of the day, treatment becomes a much more realistic option for employed people who may have been wondering how to get the help they need without signaling to their employers that there is a problem
Want to learn more? Contact us: 800.258.6550.