Approximately 600,000 Canadians have an alcohol dependency and another 200,000 have problems with illicit drug use. Dependency on tobacco and prescription medications is also a mental health concern.
People with a substance abuse problem usually have an increased tolerance for alcohol or another substance. They often experience withdrawal symptoms and are unable to decrease the amount of alcohol or drugs they consume. They continue to use the substance even though they know that it causes recurring physical or psychological problems.
Drug and alcohol dependency can lead to depression and other mental and physical health issues. Treatment options vary widely; the success of treatment programs varies according to the person and to the available support network.