Substance abuse issues around the United States have been gaining national recognition in recent years because more and more people are being affected. Towards the end of the twentieth century, most people assumed that addiction was limited to those who were in poverty or of specific ethnic backgrounds. In recent years, more and more people from every walk of life have passed away from overdoses of drug or alcohol-related causes. Addiction is a disease that doesn’t discriminate, and many middle-aged men are becoming victims of the disease. No matter their race or financial situation, middle-aged men are being affected by addiction all throughout the country.
Mortality Rates According to the CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) monitor death rates in the United States to see what the leading causes are and they’ve found that there has been a rise in annual death rates in middle-aged men. The leading causes are heart disease and diabetes as a result of substance abuse. There has also been a steady rise in deaths associated with liver disease as a result of alcoholism as well as overdoses from heroin and prescription opiates. According to the CDC, the mortality rate of white males between the ages of 45 to 54 with a high school education has risen to 134 deaths per 100,000 people from 1999 to 2014 .
What is Causing This?
U.S. News ran a story in November of 2015 analyzing what’s been happening in the country to make these death rates rise amongst middle-aged white men. They found that the primary factors leading to substance abuse for men in this age group include despair, lack of social services, and economic opportunity . While there is a studied and well documented genetic component when it comes to addiction, socio-economic factors may also push addiction further to a dangerous point. When a person feels depressed, helpless, or stressed, they may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with what’s happening in their life. Eventually, the mind associates drinking or using drugs with these feelings that the person is experiencing, so the person craves the substances as a form of dependency.
There is a Way to Recover
Addiction is a disease that affects the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This part of the brain is responsible for logical decision making and other basic functions involved with human survival. A person who is drinking or using as a way to cope with life gets stuck in a perpetual cycle. They become addicted to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with life, but soon the drugs or alcohol are what is holding the person back. The person’s mind tells them that the only way they can live is by continuing on this path.
No matter who you are, there is a way to recover from active addiction. The very first step in solving any problem is acknowledging that there is a problem. If you’re struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, you must surrender to the fact that you’ve lost the power of choice when it comes to drugs or alcohol. From here, you can begin on the journey of finding the help that you need. Millions of people around the world were once in that predicament, but they have found a better way to live by asking for help when they needed it.