The prevalence of addiction is on the rise – and so is the number of people opting out of treatment. The vast majority of addicts don’t seek help, despite consequences. Learn what the barriers to treatment are – and how to overcome them.
It’s sad, but it’s true: only about 10% of addicts receive treatment – meaning the vast majority of people who need addiction treatment aren’t getting the help that they need.
Given the far-reaching consequences of addiction on the lives of addicts and those who love them, that’s a staggering statistic. Someone unfamiliar with the numbers would be forgiven for assuming that addicts would stop at nothing to get the care that they need. However, they would be wrong – and not by a small margin.
The truth is, most addicts who need treatment don’t seek it. And those who do seek it often don’t end up following through. The fallout of untreated addiction is catastrophic, both on an individual level and on a societal scale. If we can overcome the objections of even a few people who need treatment, we’re saving lives and bettering communities. Before we can do that, though, we need to know what those objections are.
Often, the reasons for staying addicted are as complex as they are varied. They’re generally a mix of internal (i.e. psychological) and external (i.e. structural) factors, moderated by level of desire for, or resistance to, rehab. People who want to receive treatment but don’t get it tend to be stopped primarily by external barriers, whereas those who need treatment but don’t want it are generally more motivated by internal barriers. External barriers are arguably easier for us to address as they are more concrete, but understanding both internal and external barriers is important in establishing a holistic approach to encouraging treatment.
External Barriers To Addiction Treatment
First, we’ll take a look at external barriers to treatment, which generally apply to people who want treatment but don’t receive it.
The primary external factors that prevent treatment are:
They Can’t Afford It
For 39% of people who want treatment but don’t end up receiving it, money is a factor – and the price of your programme could be stopping potential clients in their tracks.
To combat this, The Cabin offers a wider array of insurance options. We also offer cost-effective outpatient addiction treatment options, as well as a world-renowned residential rehab programme in Thailand at a fraction of the cost of premium rehab in the West.
Treatment Options are Inconvenient or Inflexible
About 20 per cent of people who need treatment, and make an effort to find it, don’t follow through due to lack of transportation and/or time. They also worry that seeking treatment would pull them away from their responsibilities at home, such as caring for a family member.
Programmes with flexible outpatient scheduling (e.g. late evening appointments) are key to overcoming this barrier. Offering online treatment options should also be considered, if possible.
They’re Worried About Discrimination
Recovering addicts face an overwhelming number of obstacles as they reintegrate into society, which can leave some clients questioning whether seeking treatment is worthwhile.
No matter how much support they receive from loved ones, addicts are aware of the stigma of their situation, and that they’re likely to face some level of discrimination in education, employment or housing. What’s more, they’re often miles behind their peers who haven’t struggled with addiction.
After a 16-year battle with prescription opioid addiction, Ryan Michael offered his perspective:
“I feel like I’m up against a wall. I want to re-join society, but society won’t let me in. Other people my age have well-established careers already and are saving for their children to go to college. In contrast, I didn’t even have an email address to my name up until last year when I left rehab. Saying I am behind the curve is an understatement.”
To help addicts overcome this steep barrier to reintegration, we make sure each of our clients leaves with an individualised recovery plan they can follow to the letter, and offer continuing care including regular group calls, meetings with counsellors and peer support networks.
They Don’t Want to be Judged
About 20 per cent of people who want treatment don’t pursue it because they’re worried about what their friends, community and family would think or say.
To reassure those who seek treatment with us, we make their confidentiality your top priority. We also include guidance around boundary setting and communication skills in treatment to help clients react to judgment in a healthy way, when they do encounter it. We also offer assistance to loved ones via family programmes, so that clients feel supported by those closest to them.
Internal Barriers to Addiction Treatment
Internal barriers affect everyone who doesn’t receive treatment to some degree, but they’re an especially powerful influence on those who need treatment but don’t want it.
The most significant internal barriers are:
They’re in Denial
Denial is an inherent part of addiction, and for most addicts, the main reason they don’t seek treatment. 96 per cent of addicts don’t think they need help, despite the catastrophic consequences of their addictions.
Addiction actively works to preserve itself by diverting and manipulating addicts’ thoughts until they are virtually incapable of seeing the root of their problems. If they see their behaviour as a problem at all, it’s frequently distorted.
It’s tough to convince someone that they’ve got a problem when they don’t believe that they do. Sometimes, getting someone into treatment requires intervention by their loved ones. Offer your support and compassion, and suggest treatment when the openness is there.
Overcoming an addiction often means having to relearn who you are – which is scary stuff. It takes courage and commitment, day in and day out, indefinitely. The physical and emotional fallout can be overwhelming and uncomfortable. A lot of addicts are afraid of the vulnerability that the process of recovery demands – and they’re afraid they haven’t got what it takes to pull it off.
We help addicts overcome these fears, slowly but surely, by addressing them directly in initial consultations and by offering genuine support, and coping strategies, during treatment and well into recovery.
Overcome Barriers to Treatment at The Cabin Melbourne
When people are struggling with an active addiction, there’s often only a brief window of opportunity during which they’re open to receiving help. That window can fade quickly. If you or a loved one feel that the time for getting help has arrived, don’t delay – contact us today for an assessment of your best options. Together, we’ll overcome your barriers to treatment.