Addiction and Mental Illness in the Suburbs

Addiction and Mental Illness in the Suburbs

Addiction is sweeping the nation, and even the most isolated suburbs are not safe

Addiction was once viewed as an inner-city problem—a problem among minorities, the poor or the uneducated—but it and mental health concerns are not limited to any single demographic. Currently, addiction is sweeping the nation, and even the most isolated and ideal suburbs are not safe from it. Areas with Caucasian, wealthy, educated homeowners have alcohol, prescription drug and now even heroin abuse problems.

Suburbs, Teens and Addiction

Drug abuse and mental health problems may start early in suburban people’s lives. According to Psychology Today, “Affluent suburban high schoolers not only smoke more, drink more, and use more hard drugs than typical high schoolers do—they do so more than a comparison group of inner-city kids. In addition, they have much higher rates of anxiety and, in general, higher rates of depression” (“Teens: Suburban Blues,” March 2005). This information shows that addiction is not simply the result of economic depression or other factors related to upbringing and social background. It also reflects the connection between drug abuse and mental health problems.

The article also reports that, “among the upper-middle-class suburban kids, but not among the inner-city kids, use of alcohol and drugs is linked with depression and anxiety. That raises the possibility that substance use is an attempt to self-medicate.” These concerns are also not simply for suburban teenagers: Psychology Today reports that mental health and drug abuse concerns continue into adulthood. Addiction and mental health are closely related. There is no one cause for either health concern, as they both spring from a variety of personal, physical and social factors, but one often contributes to the other.

The Upside of Discussing Addiction and Mental Illness Concerns

With the spread of addiction comes the spread of addiction awareness. As addiction and mental illnesses are finally identified and owned up to in more affluent areas, they are both getting more attention. In one example, the Washington Post shares that “new attention to heroin use in white, affluent areas is changing the perceptions and politics of drug addiction…heroin use isn’t the result of bad parenting, the rise of single-parent families or something sick or deviant in white culture. It isn’t an incurable plague that is impossible to treat except with jail time” (“When Heroin Use Hit the Suburbs, Everything Changed,” May 16, 2014). Addiction and mental health are no longer associated with low social status, nor are they seen as the results of a poor upbringing or moral failure. Instead, these problems are now seen as the diseases they are, and the need for treatment is beginning to be met. More resources for recovery exist than ever before, and those who need help can now find specialized, personalized treatment for co-occurring mental health and addiction concerns. One-size-fits-all treatment is no longer the only choice, so people now have hope for an addiction-free future.

Find Addiction Help

No matter where you live or what your personal history involves, you can get help. Our admissions coordinators will work with you to identify the best recovery resources for yourself or for a loved one. They are available 24 hours a day, and all calls are toll free. Please reach out for help today.

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