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Rising Substance Abuse Disorders and Why Most People Never Get Help

According to the DEA 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment, “each day in the United States, over 120 people die as a result of a drug overdose.” With millions of Americans involved in the illicit, illegal, and unprecedented abuse of drugs than ever before, high availabilities, and new concoctions hitting the streets daily, overdose statistics only show part of the picture.

Increases in co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders including major depression among adolescents (2.8 million with a major depressive episode (MDE) in 2014) and suicides among substance abusers are raising the bar for substance abuse treatment needs. The most recent surveys on substance abuse treatment however, show that most people never get the help they need and the following are some of the reasons why.

Ambivalence to Seeking Substance Abuse Treatment

rising substance abuse disorders

Many substance abusers believe they have control over how much they use and think they can stop whenever they’re ready.

Ambivalence to seek substance abuse treatment has many sources including the perceived value of the drug and the behaviors associated with it; sometimes, over and above the satisfaction of other wants and needs including holding a job, maintaining a relationship, or regard for health concerns. A person may think that they have their substance abuse, attitudes, and behaviors under control, can quit when they are ready to quit, or worse, have little hope to be able to recover.

According to the SAMHSA, “Drug treatment is not designed for the low-intensity drug user who is readily able to control his or her level of consumption and for whom functional consequences have not yet accumulated. ” This can create a lot of confusion as to when the treatment may be necessary. They may not recognize that they have a problem or the relevancy of the associated dysfunctions in their physical, psychological, or social wellbeing and sometimes, it’s their friends or families that encourage drug abuse behaviors and discourage treatment contemplations, fueling the ambivalence for change.

The Stigma of Substance Abuse Treatment

The stigma of substance abuse treatment is far more prevalent than treatments for other medical or mental health concerns although science and research support the views of addiction as chronic, but, treatable disease. According to the World Health Organization,” drug dependence has been considered, depending on the different beliefs or ideological points of view: only a social problem, only an educational or spiritual issue, only a guilty behavior to be punished, only a pharmacological problem.”

Fear of being judged, reprisals from authorities such as those involved in custody arrangements and child welfare, or from medical, legal, or employment associations, views of treatment ineffectiveness, and unwanted scrutiny into personal affairs or excessive compliance measures are some of the primary reasons a person may be wary about participating in a substance abuse treatment program.

Living with a Loved One Suffering from a Substance Abuse Disorder

Other Barriers to Substance Abuse Treatment

Other barriers may include:

    Lack of information Cant’ afford treatment costs Long wait times for programs Inconvenient hours Didn’t know where to go Behavior of staff Distance and travel burdens (lack of transportation or travel resources) Physical or mental health disorders or other conditions such as age and pregnancy Cultural differences Lack of childcare

For more information about substance abuse disorders and treatment options, call us today at 800-895-1695.

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