Why is it Difficult for Alcohol and Drug Addicts to Seek Treatment?

Why is it Difficult for Alcohol and Drug Addicts to Seek Treatment?| HealthSoul

About 21 million people in the United States live with an addiction, but only 10% of people will seek treatment. Each day, over 100 people die from a drug overdose, while many more die from injury or illness due to their addictions.

Why Don’t People Seek Help?

With such alarming statistics, you may wonder why so few people seek help. Addiction is a progressive, sometimes fatal disease, but the general population doesn’t see it this way. It’s often thought that addiction is a person’s fault when that’s rarely, if ever, the case.

According to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 96% of people who are actively addicted don’t believe they have a problem. The other 4% don’t feel they need treatment to receive help or don’t know where to find it.

Denying the addiction will stop you from going to rehab. If a family member has asked if you’re abusing drugs, and you denied it, that may be a sign that you have a problem. Mood changes, nausea, sleep issues, and avoidance behaviors are other signs.

Why Quitting Drugs and Alcohol is Difficult

Severe addiction can’t be controlled by willpower alone. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, they’re likely having a hard time quitting due to the following.

Addicts Need Emotional Support

Lack of support is another key factor in why people don’t seek treatment. Addicts that seek support are less likely to use drugs or alcohol in the future or be around people who trigger that need. They’re also less likely to contract human immunodeficiency viruses, like hepatitis C.

If you don’t have an active support system, Ranch Creek Recovery, which takes a non-spiritual approach to recovery, can give you the support you need to recover from an addiction.

Addicts Feel Ashamed of Their Situation

Many addicts feel shame or fear that admitting they have a problem will ruin their lives. That fear isn’t unfounded, especially if a family member or friend feels a certain way about addicts. Shame is one of the most painful, overwhelming emotions and is often a barrier to treatment.

When you experience shame, you may feel like you’re unworthy of help, but you’re 100% worthy of treatment. It’s still possible to turn your life around if you seek help.

Addiction Affects the Brain

Substance use disorder is a real, debilitating illness that changes your brain. The reason why drugs and alcohol are so difficult to quit is due to their chemical makeup. If your body is receiving a hormone elsewhere, the brain produces less of it, hooking you further.

Long-term use of these substances leads to chemical changes in your brain, either in the long or short term. Detoxing from said substances can cause pain, withdrawal, and other symptoms.

Addiction Co-Occurs With Mental Disorders/Disabilities

Mental disorders like anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, and depression may trigger substance abuse. Those with ADHD, which is caused by a deficiency of norepinephrine (a building block of dopamine), are 5-10 times more likely to be alcoholics than people without the condition.

Some people who have mental disorders or learning disabilities may use drugs or alcohol to cope, adding to their shame or fear associated with addiction.

Addiction Counseling Can Be Very Expensive

On top of all the other barriers that prevent addicts from seeking treatment, money is a significant factor. In the United States, addiction counseling is hardly, if ever, covered by medical insurance. On top of that, medication intervention is simply too expensive for most Americans.


Due to the lack of monetary support, some addicts may never seek help. If they do, they may be discouraged from seeking further intervention due to abuse or other cultural/personal obstacles.