Addiction Factors

November 15, 2010 | British Columbia

Addiction factors are present in a number of select populations

Winnipeg, MB - November 15, 2010 - Although every individual case is different, members of select sub-populations may share certain characteristics that lead to substance abuse. As a result, addiction workers need to understand the factors of addiction that lead these groups to dependence in order to develop effective treatment plans.

Addiction Factors

Health Canada and the Sunshine Coast Health Center in British Columbia discuss a variety of vulnerable groups including female, youth and senior populations in their report Best Practices Report: Substance Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation. Addiction factors in these groups include women who have been casualties of physical or sexual abuse. These women are more likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol compared to those who have not been victimized. Social service workers should know that on average women prefer outpatient programs rather than residential treatment and are more willing to attend if childcare and transportation services are provided.

Addiction Risk Factors

Adolescents who deal with issues such as mental illness, learning disabilities, abuse at home, homelessness and who are members of the LGBT community have increased addiction risk factors. Addiction workers can help teens by providing adaptable programs that tailor to the adolescent's individualized needs. Youth also benefit from family therapy, recreational programs and behavioural counseling.

Addiction Statistics

Addiction statistics show that up to 20% of Canadian seniors are addicted to alcohol or prescription medication. Feelings of isolation and sadness associated with progressive health decline or death of a spouse can lead to substance dependence. Substance abuse counsellors can help seniors by not only addressing the issue of addiction but also dealing with social, independent living and health needs. In their report, Health Canada and the Sunshine Centre also discuss other select populations that were vulnerable to addiction risk factors.

As part of the CDI College Addiction and Community Services Workers program, students complete coursework focusing on Selected Populations, so when they become professional health and human service professionals, they will understand how to help those who are vulnerable.

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