While an estimated 22 million American adults have some form of addiction to drugs or alcohol, only about 2.5 million seek treatment for these disorders. What factors make adults more or less likely to seek treatment and participate in it? How do these numbers dovetail with the risk factors for drug abuse?
What the Latest Survey Says
A recent study looked at the data from the 2012 Global Appraisal of Individual Needs-Intake (GAIN-I), approximately 5,443 records of substance abuse treatment seekers who were adults at the time. The study found that certain populations were less likely to seek treatment and to engage when they did seek it.
Education level was a factor; those with less education, particularly without a high school diploma, were 15 percent less likely to seek treatment than those with diplomas or college experience.
Another factor was gender; although most studies have shown that addiction affects males more often than females, men were 22 percent less likely to seek treatment than women. Although the study did not go into reasons for the patterns researchers observed, it is likely that men often feel that they need to handle problems on their own, while women are generally more likely to want help and support from others.
The likelihood of engaging in treatment also varied by race, according to the study, which found that whites were 21 percent less likely to seek treatment, and blacks were 30 percent less likely to do so than other races and ethnic groups.
One surprising finding was that people who were married, widowed, or divorced were 23 to 26 percent less likely to seek treatment than those who had never been married. Other studies have shown that most people who struggle with addiction were either never married, separated, or divorced.
Finally, those who have other ongoing health problems or who had used drugs more frequently and at higher amounts were most likely to seek treatment compared to healthier people whose use of substances was less.
Is Treatment Readiness a Factor?
Treatment readiness seems self-explanatory. If you are ready to engage in treatment, that must be a good thing, right? But treatment readiness is more than saying you are ready. Most professionals consider that a person is showing treatment readiness when they take steps before treatment to control or change their level of substance abuse. This shows motivation for getting treatment and a desire to overcome the addiction.
This study, however, did not find that treatment readiness increased the level of seeking and engaging in treatment significantly. Clearly, other factors are at work that may interfere with a person’s willingness to get treatment for an addiction.
If you or a loved one wants to get treatment for an addiction, do not let any obstacles stand in your way. The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake offers Colorado addiction treatment resources tailored to your specific needs, and our trained professionals are ready to help you move forward in overcoming your addiction and entering recovery. Contact us today!