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Common Hurdles to Quitting Alcohol

In the U.S., millions of people have serious alcohol problems that call for some form of inpatient or outpatient treatment. However, the vast majority of those affected don’t believe they need treatment, and therefore never seek help. In addition, a significant percentage of those who feel they need help never make it into an appropriate program. Here are some of the common hurdles to quitting alcohol and entering recovery.
Quitting Alcohol

#1 Not Realizing That You Have a Problem

According to the results of a nationwide survey conducted by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 87% of people who would benefit from alcohol treatment don’t think they need help for their drinking. This means that almost nine out of 10 people dealing with alcohol abuse and/or alcoholism never cross the first hurdle on the road to recovery.

#2 Not Being Ready to Quit

Out of the roughly 13% of people who believe they need treatment for their drinking problems, one out of three never enter a program. The chief reason among this group for not getting the help they need is simply not being ready to quit alcoholism or alcohol abuse. This indicates that simple awareness of a problem does not by itself provide sufficient motivation to seek help.

#3 Fear, Stigma and Cost

Another common reason for not quitting drinking among people who know they need help is an inability to pay for treatment, either with or without insurance coverage. More than one-third of alcoholics face this cost-related issue. Other frequently named reasons for not entering a program if you know you have a drinking problem include fear of the perceived stigma of entering treatment, lack of access to a suitable program, a perceived inability to handle the rigors of a treatment program, and a mistaken belief that professional help is not needed to recover from alcohol problems.

Who Has the Best Chances of Quitting Alcohol?

So, who has the highest odds of stopping problem drinking? The results of a 2014 study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence indicate that the chances are greatest among unmarried adults, people age 39 or younger, people with relatively limited economic resources and people most severely affected by the symptoms of alcohol abuse/addiction. Somewhat paradoxically, odds for the successful achievement of long-term sobriety are highest among married adults and people age 41 or older (as well as women).


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – The NSDUH Report: Alcohol Treatment – Need, Utilization and Barriers

Drug and Alcohol Dependence: Predictors of Quit Attempts and Successful Quit Attempts Among Individuals with Alcohol Use Disorders in a Nationally Representative Sample

Posted on December 27th, 2016
Posted in Alcoholism, Articles

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