Scientific research shows addiction is a complex brain disease, but according to a new report from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, many people still believe addiction takes hold because of a lack of willpower and a moral failing.
The report also found that U.S. doctors are not prepared to intervene or treat addiction even with significant advances in science regarding the disease. Many who see their primary care physician are sent to a support group without receiving any medical care.
This could be for a variety of reasons, such as many doctors aren’t prepared to treat addiction because medical schools don’t generally cover the disease. They don’t know how to handle the case.
“I think that the real important finding here that hasn't been made clear before is the vast disconnect between what we know about addiction and how to prevent and treat it … and how the medical profession has largely neglected addressing this disease for a variety of reasons,” Susan Foster, vice president and director of policy research at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, tells The Oklahoman.
And the number of those possibly neglected reaches in the millions, as the report estimates about 40 million Americans are affected by addiction.
Eighty million U.S. individuals would be considered “risky users,” because their use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs threaten their health and safety in some way, but it may not be labeled as addiction.
Click here to read the full story in The Oklahoman.