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Common Reasons People Don’t Seek Addiction Treatment

Reasons People Don’t Seek Treatment

Some estimates report that globally, more than 70% of people with mental illness do not receive treatment. While there are a number of factors believed to be responsible for this phenomenon, this article aims to explore an individual’s responsibility to seek treatment, and the barriers or maladaptive thoughts that often get in the way. Learn more of the reasons people don’t seek addiction treatment.

Common Reasons People Don’t Seek Addiction Treatment

“What will others say?”

Some of the most common reasons that individuals do not seek help is due to fear and shame regarding others’ evaluations of them, and their emotions getting in the way. It is by definition, a vulnerable process to admit that you need help, and many people still feel as though there is a stigma in our society associated with having a mental illness.

In some ways, this is still a legitimate concern, as being diagnosed with a disorder and receiving medication has the potential to negatively impact one’s life goals, such as their career, education, or military aspirations. However, often times these concerns are mitigated by the assistance they do receive through support from therapists and mental health professionals, in learning to beat their addictions, and manage their symptoms in healthy and adaptive ways.

“Addiction Treatment is for other people, not me.

In today’s society, people generally appear to be becoming more and more accepting of others’ mental illness, and their need to seek help. However, a barrier remains in one’s acceptance of their own need for help. While they may champion mental health causes for others, they themselves don’t want to appear weak, incompetent, or unable to care for themselves, let alone “mentally ill”, “crazy”, or even “addict”.

They may believe the lie that they are inadequate or a failure in admitting that something is “wrong” with their mental health and with their ability to cope with life’s challenges. Additionally, they also end up falling into the trap of believing that they “should be able to handle things” on their own without assistance and feel that it is shameful to have to ask for help.

“I can do it on my own.”

Still, others may feel as if they don’t have a clear idea about what constitutes an actual mental health condition, and are convinced that they already have all the tools to handle the situation (some call this denial). Sure, some anxiety and guilt can be adaptive and carry important lessons about who you do and do not want to be, but only when paired with a healthy amount of insight. A lack of self-awareness and self-discipline can lead you down a dangerous path towards misguided self-medication. Enter high-risk behaviors like substance use, binge-drinking, and self-injury; anything to numb the emotions.

Minimization of symptoms and a lack of knowledge are the enemy of someone being able to seek out and receive the help that they need. The answer is education. Get to know the signs and symptoms that may indicate that something more severe is going on, or talk with someone trusted who may be able to provide some feedback on your behavior as of late. 

“I am a lost cause, nothing will help.”

Still, others will lean the opposite way regarding their thoughts towards treatment, and believe that  “nothing will help me” or “I’ll never get better.” Often times these thoughts are born out of one’s experience with depression, or mistrust and concerns about revealing themselves to a “stranger” These typically represent some of the greatest barriers to change, as treatment providers and therapists alike recognize that harnessing one’s willpower and being honest about one’s experience, are perhaps the largest catalyst to change.

As before, education is again the answer, as there are a number of treatment options available. For those caught up in addictive patterns, detox is often the first step.

Lack of insurance coverage

Not all Medicaid plans cover treatment for addiction, despite being the largest provider in the country. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that addiction services be covered by insurance, not all insurance providers are governed by the ACA. In fact, it was found in a comprehensive review of addiction benefits offered by the states that as of 2017, none of the plans provide adequate addiction benefits, and over two-thirds violate the ACA.

Conversely, finding a treatment provider that accepts your particular brand of Medicaid, or insurance can be a nightmare. This, in turn, limits the number of professionals who can help treat substance abuse and adds to the difficulty of the process for seeking help, which many addicted individuals are already completing reluctantly. In addition, while it is highly recommended that severe cases of addiction require 90 days of inpatient rehab or IOP treatment, most insurance plans do not cover more than 30 days.

Lack of access to a treatment provider

The need for treatment is growing fast in the rehab industry. In some cases, patients have to travel far in order to find a rehab facility while in others, or for the more affordable options, the waiting lists are too long. The number of people in search of treatment is way higher than the number of qualified physicians who can offer this treatment and the places where such treatment can be provided. This results in the affected party having limited options since they could easily be turned away by a qualified physician or center.

Mental health

Addiction and mental health issues tend to go hand in hand. However, rehab facilities do not necessarily offer mental health treatment and mental health facilities do not substitute for rehab facilities. An individual is thus left stranded debating on which condition to handle. Will they have to seek treatment for addiction to substances or will they deal with their mental issues? The likelihood of relapse is much higher in the event that both illnesses are not treated together. While trends lately have increased the prevalence of dual diagnosis treatment centers, there remains some disparity in the quality of the care provided.

Intensity and duration of care

An individual may be lucky enough to have their costs covered by their insurance, but the duration of treatment covered may be brief or not at the needed intensity to create and sustain change. One may easily get discharged once their coverage runs out, yet the person may not be stable enough to live on their own managing their condition. The risk of returning to the same maladaptive patterns are high with such cases. As much as treatment centers may work with the insurance company to get the coverage they need, they may end up discharging a patient from the facility when they still have much to learn.

It can be a confusing process to seek addiction treatment, which is why when using MD Home Detox, we aim to simplify the process and walk you through it, every step along the way. One thing we know is clear: substance abuse disorders tend to require professional help in order to get better. People may be reluctant to get treatment for drug abuse due to holding certain beliefs about the process, may live in an area where the treatment is not available or even a lack of insurance to cover the cost. This article aims to further the conversation and to describe many of the physical barriers individuals encounter in their pursuit of mental health or addiction treatment.

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