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What are the excuses or real barriers to treatment?

If you, your spouse or family member, or your employee has a problem with chemical abuse or dependency, you are probably already familiar with this list. According to SAMHSA, the reasons people do not receive specialized addiction treatment services are:

1) 37.2 % were just not ready to stop using.
2) 30.9% had no health coverage and could not afford the cost.
3) 13.3% had a possible negative effect on the job.
4) 12.6% did not know where to go for treatment.
5) 11% had concern that entering treatment might cause neighbors or community to have a negative opinion.

Let’s consider each of these. For the first one, sometimes motivational interviewing, a screening by the primary physician or care provider, or an intervention by family, work or law enforcement is what it takes to change this. Our health system has its flaws, but chemical dependency treatment may be covered by a fund for those with very little money. Money for treatment is money well spent, as it has a payback of at least $4 for every $1 spent on treatment in terms of other health and service costs. For certain types of addiction treatment such as opiate addiction treatment, the return on investment is far higher. Third is fear of a negative effect on a job. Chemical dependency is an illness, and so treatment should be afforded the same accommodations as any other illness. It is not the people who are in treatment that the employer needs to worry about; it is the ones who need treatment and don’t get it. Fourth, now you know you can call a chemical dependency or dual diagnosis (mental health and chemical dependency) treatment program in your area. Lastly, it is likely that your drinking or drug use isn’t the secret you think it is. The neighbors are already concerned about your drinking or use of drugs, and would be relieved about the change. It wouldn’t matter anyway, as your new friends in treatment and recovery circles would support your entering treatment, and you’d feel so much better about yourself.

Start by watching some of the WYNK flash videos that sound interesting, and follow through by seeking help in your community.


by: Lois Cochrane Schlutter, Ph.D. L.P.



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