Every weekend millions of people indulge in a night of revelry. And countless others do the same but then wake up the next morning and long for another alcoholic drink. The former are typically healthy people who drink because they enjoy it. The latter are more likely to have alcoholism.
According to results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables, just over 16 million adults 18 years of age and older have an alcohol use disorder. That's nearly 7 percent of the entire age group. Of those 16 million adults, only 1.5 million received treatment for their AUD (1.1 million men and 431,000 women). While the first statistic is scary, the second is even scarier and leads us to ask:
- Why do people become alcoholics?
- Why don't most seek treatment?
There's a lot to cover here. In previous articles we've discussed why people abuse alcohol, but it's important we still touch on the subject prior to answering question two.
"It's important to note that alcoholism is person-dependent."
Why do people become alcoholics?
People can become addicted because alcoholism is in their genes, or in conjunction with mental illness, difficult social environments, traumatic experiences or drug use. For example, a teenager may be more prone to becoming an alcoholic because a parent has the condition. That teenager may also face a number of dramatic situations (such as peer pressure) that cause them to drink. Unlike his or her peers, he or she may have difficulty breaking out of this drinking pattern and eventually fall into alcoholism.
It's important to note that alcoholism is person-dependent. Everyone's situation is special and must be evaluated and treated differently.
Why don't some alcoholics seek treatment?
It's difficult to believe that some who have alcoholism don't seek treatment. Unfortunately certain alcoholics may refuse care altogether or opt out of certain treatments or facilities for a number of reasons, including peer pressure and denial. Interestingly enough, research conducted by Carla Green, Ph.D., M.P.H. and partly supported with a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism spotlighted another potential reason: gender. Green found that women were much less likely to seek treatment than men.
She stated women not only face many obstacles when trying to obtain care, but they also look for treatment outside of specialized treatment facilities, such as in mental health or primary care centers.
Elizabeth Epstein, a professor with the Center of Alcohol Studies' Clinical Division at Rutgers University, pointed out a similar reality, according to Join Together, newsletter of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
"Women have different barriers to treatment than men," said Epstein. "They are less likely to seek alcohol treatment in a dedicated alcohol facility, and more likely to seek treatment with a general practitioner or psychiatrist for depression or fatigue."
If you know a friend or loved one who is suffering from alcoholism, talk to Fairwinds Treatment Center of Clearwater, Florida. Fairwinds has over 25 years of experience in diagnosing and treating alcohol-related problems. Under the leadership of Dr. M.K (Khal) El-Yousef, Fairwinds has grown into one of the country's leading centers in using dual diagnosis as a technique to treat individuals with addictive behaviors. We also understand that each patient, male or female, must be provided their own treatment plan. We'll work with individuals and families to ensure our recovery strategy works for them.