It’s an unfortunate reality that most Americans who need treatment for a substance use disorder never get it. There are a number of reasons for this. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the vast majority simply don’t think they need treatment. [https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DR-FFR2-2016/NSDUH-DR-FFR2-2016.htm] Of the 17.7 million American adults who needed help but didn’t get it, 16.9 million said they just didn’t need it. Out of the rest, more than half–455,000 people–believed they needed help but made no effort to get it. Why is that?
They weren’t ready to stop using.
The biggest reason people gave for not seeking help even though they knew they needed it was that they weren’t ready to stop using. This might sound strange to people who haven’t struggled with addiction but the fact is that most people are conflicted about their substance use. They may be aware of the negative consequences but they may feel like they’re still getting something out of it and they aren’t ready to let go of whatever that is.
They couldn’t afford it.
Treatment can certainly be expensive but in recent years, the cost has become less of a barrier. Most insurers will pay for some degree of treatment and most treatment programs accept several forms of insurance. There are also more public programs and Medicare and Medicaid can be used for more programs. Treatment programs typically have people whose only job is to figure out how to help you afford treatment so don’t assume the cost is prohibitive.
They didn’t know where to get treatment.
There are something like 14,000 addiction treatment facilities in the US and they vary greatly in quality and methods, so it’s not surprising that people get confused about where to go for treatment. When in doubt, getting a recommendation from your doctor is a good place to start. Narrowing your choices to those that accept your insurance makes sense as well. If you still feel overwhelmed, there are probably people in your life who would be happy to help you find a treatment program.
They were afraid of what their neighbors might think.
We’ve come a long way in reducing the stigma associated with addiction but there’s still a lot of work to do. A poll from 2017 found that fewer than one in five Americans was willing to closely associate with someone with a substance use disorder. [http://www.apnorc.org/news-media/Pages/AP-NORC-Poll-Most-Americans-see-drug-addiction-as-a-disease.aspx] It’s no surprise, then, that many people don’t seek treatment because they fear what others might think. However, addiction only gets worse and the neighbors will find out anyway, so it’s better to get ahead of it.
They were afraid it might affect their job.
Finally, people were afraid of how addiction treatment might affect their job. This could mean they were afraid to take time off or they were afraid of what their colleagues might think, or both. The good news is that the Family Medical Leave Act guarantees you 12 weeks off for addiction treatment while protecting your job. [https://webapps.dol.gov/elaws/whd/fmla/10c9.aspx] Addiction will eventually affect your work performance anyway, if it hasn’t already, and employers would generally prefer their employees to go to treatment rather than have to hire someone new.
At Fort Worth Recovery, we offer a safe, nurturing, and healing space for men and women to find recovery from the multifaceted disease of addiction. Our team believes in inspiring each client to face their challenges, discover the root of their problems, and reclaim their lives. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call us today at 817-381-9741 or contact us through our admissions page.