About Addiction

What is addiction?

Addiction is currently a poorly treated, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences.

People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.


The current state of addiction treatment

Addiction is one of the biggest unmet medical needs globally. Substance addiction affects over 20%¹ of the global adult population – that’s more than 1.3 billion people!

Behavioural addictions like Gambling Disorder, Compulsive Sexual Behaviours, and Binge Eating Disorders, affect a significant minority of the adults in western societies¹.

Despite significant prevalence – which has grown during the Covid pandemic – treatment is rare and often ineffective. Alcohol Use Disorder, for example, affects 5% of the adult population, of whom only 16% are treated and of those, 75% relapse within 12 months².

We have developed more effective ways to treat addiction.

Prevalence of Addiction


The business opportunity

The global addiction treatment market is valued at more than $100 billion per annum, yet severely lacks efficacy and innovation.

We believe the real opportunity is even more significant. Many avoid treatment because they think – justifiably – it will fail. If addiction treatments were more effective and treated a wider range of substance and behavioural addictions, we’d expect the number of people seeking treatment to rise considerably – dramatically increasing the size of the market.

A company like Awakn, which could effectively treat substance and behavioural addictions, could quickly gain significant market share in this poorly served market.



1. Source: Prevalence of the Addictions: A Problem of the Majority or the Minority? Steve Sussman, Nadra Lisha, and Mark Griffiths
2. Source: “Treatment rates for alcohol use disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis” by Tesfa Mekonen.
3. Source: Reports and Data (reportsanddata.com) - Drug Addiction Treatment Market.

Prevalence of Addiction table references:

 Global Burden of Alcohol Use Disorders and Alcohol Liver Disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6966598/     TOBACCO USE DISORDER - Tobacco Use Worldwide: Legislative Efforts to Curb Consumption https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6748295/    OPIOID USE DISORDER - The Lancet - The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(19)32229-9.pdf    GAMBLING DISORDER - Problem gambling worldwide: An update and systematic review of empirical research (2000–2015) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5370365/     COMPULSIVE SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR - Epidemiology, Prevalence, and Natural History of Compulsive Sexual Behaviour https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0193953X08000725     BINGE EATING DISORDER - The prevalence and correlates of binge eating disorder in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23290497/    INTERNET GAMING DISORDER - Global prevalence of gaming disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33028074/ 

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