The Effects of Addiction on Society by Rehab Recovery Centers

Drug and alcohol addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), is a disease reaching epidemic levels that affects everyone, regardless of cultural background, age, gender, or socioeconomic status. With that being said, many people know at least one person who is affected by addiction. Unfortunately, many individuals may even know someone who lost their battle with addiction, whether it’s through violence, illness, or a fatal overdose. To continue, entire communities throughout the United States experience the effects of addiction in a variety of ways. The effects of addiction on society are, unfortunately, plentiful. In fact, the vast majority of the nation’s top public health and social concerns are related to drug and alcohol dependency.

The most common effects of addiction on society include drunk driving, cardiovascular diseases, mental illness, and crime. For example, nearly one-third of drunk drivers are repeat offenders, indicating the prevalence of alcohol use disorder. Additionally, nearly 50% of jail and prison inmates are diagnosed with a SUD, meaning a majority of crimes in America may be traced back to addiction.

To address the tremendous impact of addiction on society, national officials and policymakers have begun working toward an approach that focuses on prevention, awareness, and recovery, rather than prosecution. By changing the view of addiction and depicting it as a disease that requires treatment, rather than a crime that should be punished, the stigma of substance abuse may be shattered. As a result, more people will feel confident and willing to seek the help they need.

Who Does Addiction Affect?

Addiction affects people from all walks of life. In other words, addiction does not discriminate. Regardless of an individual’s age, financial status, or education, anyone may be prone to developing addictive behaviors. Fortunately, rehab facilities across the country have programs that specialize in treating specific demographics that are most at risk for addiction.


Individuals in the LGBTQ community face many societal challenges that might cause them to be more prone to addiction. With that being said, individuals in the LGBTQ community require specialized treatment that can treat their addiction as well as the societal challenges they have faced. Fortunately, there are tons of LGBTQ-specific treatment centers to attend across the country.


While many people assume addiction only affects younger populations, there are many reasons for seniors to develop a SUD. Common causes of senior addiction include a loss of income, the death of a spouse, pet, or close friend, relocation or placement in a nursing home, retirement, trouble sleeping, family conflict, and/or a decline in physical or mental health. Luckily, individuals over the age of 65 can find specialized treatment to address the unique concerns they face related to addiction and substance abuse.

Medical Professionals

Doctors and nurses have some of the highest rates of drug and alcohol abuse among the professional workforce due to high levels of stress. Because of this alarming trend, many programs are designed to specifically treat medical professionals suffering from addiction. Additionally, these programs work to ensure their patients can retain their licenses and continue practicing medicine after treatment.


Many veterans suffer from co-occurring mental disorders like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of their service. Because of this, rehab programs for veterans and service members often address dual diagnoses, providing patients with a solid foundation of recovery to return home with.

Pregnant Women

Pregnant women who struggle with alcohol dependency or drug addiction often suffer from an underlying mental health condition. Rehabs that treat pregnant women understand the delicateness of their situation, so they strive to provide compassionate care that helps mothers and babies heal together. Programs for pregnant women often include medical care, therapy, and support for both their pregnancy, addiction, and any additional mental health conditions they may suffer from.

Health and Safety Risks of Addiction

Addiction often has a complicated relationship with some of the most pressing issues regarding specific communities. Oftentimes, health and societal problems arise as the result of increased drug or alcohol use in a community. In other cases, substances are used as a mechanism for coping with specific community-related problems.

Domestic Violence

Unfortunately, according to research, nearly 80% of all domestic violence crimes have a connection to substance abuse. Sometimes, an individual’s partner suffers from aggravated behavior as a direct result of drug or alcohol consumption. On the other hand, a victim may use substances in an attempt to soothe trauma and fears in relation to the abuse they suffer from.

Fortunately, a wide variety of substance abuse treatment centers are equipped to address intimate partner violence and abuse as a co-occurring issue. This allows individuals to recover from the causes of their addiction, rather than only the effects.

HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse

A person who is suffering from addiction is more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex and sharing needles. Risky sexual behaviors, such as unprotected sex, often lead to the contraction of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Intravenous drug use and needle sharing also lead to the transmission of HIV. Unfortunately, HIV damages a person’s immune system, which causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), overtime. If an individual continues their substance abuse, they may experience aggravate symptoms of HIV/AIDS, which leads to faster progression of the disease.

Addiction treatment programs help individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDS learn to maintain sobriety while treating their medical condition.

Finding Treatment for Addiction

Addiction is a disease that comes with devastating effects personally, within the family, and within our entire society. Hopefully, our country will continue to move towards more funding for treatment and away from incarceration and prosecution. To avoid becoming a statistic, consider attending addiction treatment as soon as possible. Rehab Recovery Centers is here to help you and your loved one find a rehab in your state that suits your specific treatment needs.

Get Help Today

Don’t go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you’re facing. Get in touch with one today.