Why are the majority Alcoholics unwilling to seek Professional Help?
Every weekend millions of people indulge in a night of revelry. And countless others do the same but then wake up the next morning and long for another alcoholic drink. The former are typically healthy people who drink because they enjoy it. The latter are more likely to have alcoholism.
According to results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables, just over 16 million adults 18 years of age and older have an alcohol use disorder. That’s nearly 7 percent of the entire age group. Of those 16 million adults, only 1.5 million received treatment for their AUD (1.1 million men and 431,000 women). While the first statistic is scary, the second is even scarier and leads us to ask:
- Why do people become alcoholics?
- Why don’t most seek treatment?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and possible solutions how best we can help reduce the habit of alcoholism in our Nation today. Thank you.
Hello Pauline, thanks for asking this common question.
It’s difficult to believe that some people who have alcoholism don’t seek treatment. Unfortunately certain alcoholics may refuse care altogether or opt out of certain treatments or facilities for a number of reasons, including peer pressure and denial. Interestingly enough, research conducted by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism spotlighted another potential reason: gender. It was found that women are much less likely to seek treatment than men.
Women not only face many obstacles when trying to obtain care, but they also look for treatment outside of specialized treatment facilities, such as in mental health or primary care centers.
Elizabeth Epstein, a professor with the Center of Alcohol Studies’ Clinical Division at Rutgers University, pointed out a similar reality, according to Join Together, newsletter of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
“Women have different barriers to treatment than men,” said Epstein. “They are less likely to seek alcohol treatment in a dedicated alcohol facility, and more likely to seek treatment with a general practitioner or psychiatrist for depression or fatigue.”
In a nutshell, denial is the greatest barrier between alcoholics and treatment, few actually find it necessary to seek help. And when they get confronted, most will get defensive and for those who may accept usually drop-out sooner due to stigma and shame.