Millions of people around the world suffer from seven major compulsions – alcohol, drug dependence, eating disorders, gambling, hoarding, smoking, and sex and porn addiction. To help sufferers overcome their habits, New York Times bestselling author Christopher Kennedy Lawford consulted with more than 100 experts to determine the best method of self-treatment in his latest book, “Recover to Live: Kick Any Habit, Manage Any Addiction”:
You may have picked up this book out of curiosity. Or maybe you suspect that someone you know, maybe even that someone who stares back at you in the mirror every morning, has a habit that is becoming (or has already become) a serious problem. Perhaps that habit is already showing the symptoms of full-blown dependency.
Whether your interest is in finding out more about an unhealthy habit or an addiction, whether the subject of concern is yourself or someone you care about, this book can help. It draws on the wisdom of about 100 of the world’s smartest dependency experts to provide you with the most innovative and useful guidance for diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. But think of this as a GP (General Practitioner) book, not a specialist book. And consider their collected wisdom to be signposts along a path toward self-discovery and not just an opportunity for self-help, though it is certainly that, too.
This book provides guidance for identifying and treating the seven common habits that have the potential to become Toxic compulsions. In alphabetical order, they are: alcohol; drugs (both legal and illegal); eating disorders; gambling; hoarding; sex and pornography; smoking.
You’ve heard of the Seven Deadly Sins? Let’s call these the Seven Toxic Compulsions. When done to excess, each one can have toxic consequences for your mental, physical, and spiritual health, for your relationships, your finances, and your overall experience of life. Examination of available statistics on the numbers of people with either nondependent use disorders or outright addictions (dependencies reveals that these habits are the industrialized world’s number one emerging health problem. Here are the numbers.
Alcohol abuse: 17 million in the United States can be considered alcoholics; 140 million worldwide
Drugs (illegal): 19.9 million users/abusers in the United States; 208 million users/abusers worldwide
Eating disorders: Up to 4 million in the United States have a binge-eating disorder; 1 out of every 100 adolescent girls experiences anorexia nervosa; 3 percent of all women are affected by bulimia at some point in their life.
Gambling: 2 to 5 percent of the adult population of the United States—up to 10 million have a problem; world totals are in the same percentage range.
Hoarding: An estimated 1 in 50 adults in the United States and worldwide have this disorder—about 2 million in the United States.
Sex and Pornography: up to 8 percent of the adult U.S. population, or about 12 million people, have some form of a sex addiction or compulsive sexual problem. World totals are unknown.
Smoking: An estimated 1 billion people worldwide have this habit.
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Only an estimated one in 10 persons with an alcohol or drug addiction problem ever receives treatment. This one in 10 ratio may also apply to the other five Toxic compulsions addressed in this book, but may be even lower due to the hidden nature of these problems. As a direct consequence of this lack of treatment, aside from the human cost of deaths and illnesses associated with the undiagnosed and untreated conditions, every nation’s health care system is burdened with excessive and rapidly growing costs. The impact of drug and alcohol abuse and dependency alone on U.S. health care costs can be put into perspective by using statistics for an average year during the first decade of this new century:
Cancer—$96 billion a year in health care spending costs; $338 million a year spent on National Institutes of Health (NIH ) research.
Alcoholism—$185 billion a year in health-related costs; $35 million in NIH research support spending annually.
Drug Abuse—$110 billion a year in health-related costs; $63 million
Given that alcoholism is almost twice as costly to the U.S. health care system as cancer, and that drug abuse-related illness is also more expensive than cancer care, why aren’t these abuse targets and their potential cost savings the number one health and budgetary issue for all levels of government? I’ll get to that question later in this book, when I take a look at the social and political forces that shape public perceptions of whether substance abuse is a mental illness or a moral failing.
Excerpted from RECOVER TO LIVE: KICK ANY HABIT, MANAGE ANY ADDICTION by Christopher Kennedy Lawford. Copyright (c) 2013 by Christopher Kennedy Lawford. Reprinted by arrangement with BenBella Books, Inc.
© 2012 MSNBC Interactive