Why Only 1 in 10 People Will Seek Help for Their Addictions

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There are a variety of explanations for people’s reluctance to get help.

The current landscape of Americans and escapism behavior is dire: a staggering 66.7 million admit to binge drinking, and 27.1 percent reveal they have abused illicit or prescription drugs. According to a report released by the Surgeon General, only 10 percent of people with a substance abuse disorder involving alcohol or illegal narcotics actually seeks treatment.

Lack of money or health insurance coverage

The cost of any kind of health care is staggeringly expensive in the United States, and treatment for substance disorders are never a one-time deal. Therapy often consists of multiple sessions, sometimes coupled with other medications. This situation that involves factors contributing to health care costs, and costs never clear and decided upfront, creates a huge deterrence.

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The disparity between Medicaid coverage for mental health and substance abuse across states

President Obama’s Affordable Care Act Expansion gave states the option to elect in including Medicaid for mental health and substance use treatment. 19 states or almost 40 percent have not adopted the expansion, causing a large institutional disparity in the coverage of health care and accessibility of treatment for individuals who need it.

The stigma of addiction

Those who experience substance use disorders are more likely than even people with psychiatric disabilities to be viewed in a negative light. Much of this social perception comes from culture and language, such as calling someone an “abuser” versus recognizing it as a “disorder.” Many people deny themselves of treatment even when it is proven to be effective, monetarily accessible, affecting their daily quality of life just out of fear of being judged.

Successful treatment for substance abuse is a long-term commit to self and family, but has wide-reaching benefits that exceed the singular person. People become more productive in life, family, society, and work when they overcome their addictions. The national website on Drug Abuse state that successful therapy includes these steps:

  • Detoxification
  • Behavioral counseling
  • Medication (for opioid, tobacco, or alcohol addiction)
  • Evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
  • Long-term follow-up to prevent relapse

Did you know an addiction can be caused by a mental disorder?

One of the primary reasons that mental disorders and substance abuse so often go hand-in-hand is that drugs and alcohol can provide an escape from the pressures of mental health problems. Self-medicating is surprisingly common: you’re not alone.

But unlike real, effective, long-term solutions, such as medication and detoxification in a treatment center, drugs and alcohol won’t amount to effective treatment.

If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from addiction, then take our free 3 minute assessment.


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