Homelessness Might Be Contributing To Your Alcohol or Drug Addiction

Drug AddictionHomelessness is a huge problem in America. In cities throughout the country, men, women, and even children are sleeping on the beach, living in abandoned buildings, or finding rest right on the streets. What makes matters worse is that many of these Americans are also using drugs and alcohol. And another contributing factor to the problem is that there often exists mental illness among the homeless.

However, research has shown that if you can find a stable home to live in, there’s a greater chance of getting sober and staying that way. According to a report released in 2003 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, there are approximately 38% of homeless men and women who also have an alcohol dependency and/or a drug addiction.

Furthermore, according to this report, substance abuse is the largest cause of homelessness.


How Drug Addiction Begins

Frequently, substance abuse begins with a mental illness. It is incredibly common for those with depression, anxiety, bipolar, and other psychological illness to turn to drugs or drinking as a way to manage their symptoms. Many men and women do this unknowingly.

Drugs become an attractive choice as a way to self-medicate and ease the painful stress of life’s instability. The National Coalition for the Homeless indicates that those who are homeless suffer from extreme forms of anxiety and depression, along with low self-esteem. In fact, they found that

the rates of major depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder to be three times higher among the homeless.

Getting Sober

Yet, regardless of whether there is a mental illness, if you want to get sober, one of the first steps is to find housing. One study done in 2012 found that this is particularly true for opiate addicts, those who are addicted to either heroin or prescription pain relievers.

The study found that the inclusion of sober living homes and day treatment programs in a person’s treatment plan greatly improves the chances he or she will recover from opiates. Typically, those who have completed detoxification struggle when they enter the early stages of their sobriety. For those who use detox as their only means of treatment tend to have extremely high relapse rates.

Relapse rates within a month of undergoing detox are between 65 percent and 80 percent, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Yet, the study found that opiate addicts who were provided with drug-free recovery housing and day treatment programs right after detox were up to 10 times more likely to remain drug-free.

Although not everyone becomes homeless for the same reasons, it’s easy to see how an addiction that has gotten out of hand could lead to homelessness. For example, an addiction might lead to the loss of a job, relationships, and family support. It’s easy to see how homelessness might become a reality for someone who let their substance use get out of hand.

Resources if Your Homeless

If you’re homeless now, there are resources to help you get off the streets and into a home. There are often many resources that can also help with addiction treatment as well as tending to your mental illness.

Frequently, there is at least one community organization that is tending to the needs of the homeless. Furthermore, getting social security benefits can help, and community agencies can facilitate this process as well.

The point here is that if you’re homeless and you’re ready to find sobriety, ask for help. See if you can find someone who can help you get connected to various resources in the community. Most towns and cities have resources that support the homeless.

Finding a place to live can create the circumstances that will support sobriety. And once you’re sober, you can then tend to any mental illnesses that you might have, such as anxiety and/or depression. But the first task is to find a secure and safe place to live.


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