"The disease of substance addiction currently ails over 21 million individuals in the United States. That means that one out of 12 individuals needed addiction treatment in 2014. That same year, one in every 20 adolescents suffered from a substance use disorder.
These are not just people you see on the streets. These are not just the "bad group of kids" at school. Oftentimes, these are everyday people battling a chronic drug or alcohol addiction. These are people that, in many cases, do not realize they need help. Someone you work with may be enduring an alcohol problem. Your teen's friend may be masking a drug addiction. Maybe you are here because someone you love is stuck amidst the cycle, too.
Each year an estimated 90 percent of addicted persons do not seek professional help. It is unfortunate reality for us to face. With all of the addiction present in today's society, we have to ask ourselves why these individuals are not getting the help that they deserve. What, exactly, is preventing our loved ones, our family, friends, and neighbors, from seeking proper drug treatment?
Supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the following six barriers are what most often prevent people from pursuing addiction treatment.
The majority of people who did not receive treatment in recent years didn't do so because they saw no need for it. That majority, to be exact, is over 95 percent of afflicted individuals. Despite the negative lifestyle changes, the financial and emotional costs, the damage that addiction often bears, these people did not realize that their lives were at stake. They did not recognize the severity of their addiction.
Many users can see the need for addiction treatment, but still refuse drug treatment. In fact, 40 percent of addicted persons do not seek help because they are not ready to stop using. They excuse themselves from the conversation of drug rehab completely by letting addiction control their priorities. They let addiction control their lives, and they need to be pulled out. They need us to show them the way.
In 2013, 316,000 addicted persons willingly made an effort to get professional treatment. They did not, however, receive it. Over 37 percent of these individuals shied away from quality care because they did not have the health insurance to cover the costs. They could not afford treatment on their own.
Many people, from students to full-time professionals, do not seek help because they do not want to take time away from other responsibilities. Students, and in some cases parents, are worried about the negative impact a long-term leave may have on their academics. Full-time workers may feel they cannot afford to take time off the job. Long-term drug treatment may take 90+ days, but addiction can take away a person's life. It's important that we do not let our loved ones lose sight of what matters.
Addiction undoubtedly carries a stigma. This stigma carries a heavy weight on the shoulders of those in and out of recovery. So much that many people do not want to seek addiction treatment out of fear of other's judgement. They do not want to stand out, but rather, fit in. They do not want to be looked at wrongly, to be punished, but rather, to be healthy and move forward in life. Unfortunately, this stigma prevents 10 percent of people from moving past addiction completely.
When caught up in the addiction cycle, it can be hard to know where to look for the right help. Users may feel hopeless, apathetic, unsure if anyone can help them at all. They may not feel the need to do the research in finding the right drug rehab facility. Even when they do, they may live too far away from a quality treatment provider or not have a way of getting to and from treatment. They may not fully understand all of their treatment options, thus deterring them from seeking proper drug treatment.
There are too many people out there suffering from addiction, too many youth impacted by the early onset of substance abuse, for us to just stand by. Like anyone suffering a disease, these people suffering need our help. They need help evaluating their treatment options and need someone to support their courageous decision."