While in the grip of a substance use disorder, you may experience a strange decoupling that can keep you from getting help. Although you are clearly suffering from the negative effects of a SUD, the disease works hard to convince your mind that you do not need to receive treatment. In fact, as the adverse consequences continue to mount, you may find yourself stubbornly resistant to seek help.
Most people will seek out medical help when suffering from other types of diseases, so why the resistance? Why is it that just a small fraction of the millions of people who struggle with a SUD avoid getting treatment? Read on to learn the main reasons that someone might avoid potentially life-saving treatment.
3 Barriers to Treatment
Although there are some logistical reasons that keep a person on the fence about getting treatment, such as the financial aspects and taking an extended leave from work, the real barriers are far more nuanced. The main three barriers that prevent someone from seeking treatment include:
- Denial. It is never easy to admit we might have a problem with a substance. Whether it is rooted in naiveté or pride, denial is the reflexive mechanism used to protect our ability to continue on as usual. By deflecting the obvious signs of a SUD with excuses, we just hope to be left alone.
- Fear. It is quite common for someone to feel fear when considering going into treatment. The emotion of fear is connected to several concerns, such as the fear of going through the detox process, the fear of being away from loved ones and work for an extended period, and the fear of giving up the substance, or living life without it.
- Stigma. Feelings of shame are a direct reflection of the stigma that still surrounds substance use disorder and treatment. We might be embarrassed to admit we have a substance issue or worry that our reputation might be adversely affected if it becomes known we were in treatment.
These barriers to getting help are formidable. It is essential that, by using sound reasoning and promising ongoing support, you can help a loved one, or yourself, push through these roadblocks and get the treatment you need.
Benefits of Treatment
When considering the pros and cons to getting help for a SUD, it becomes apparent that there are many valid benefits to entering a treatment program. The benefits of getting treatment include:
- Time to Focus on Getting Better. Treatment allows you to take a period of time to devote to your health and future. During treatment, each day is solely focused on restoring your wellness and reaching recovery.
- Unwind the Dysfunctional Patterns. Psychotherapy helps you examine the habitual thought and behavior patterns that have kept you stuck in the addiction cycle, and then unwind and reshape them.
- Acquire Recovery Tools. Recovery won’t stick if you don’t have the coping tools to manage emotions and setbacks. During treatment, you will learn new relating skills and methods to help control stress, all of which are invaluable in recovery.
- Gain a Support System. While in treatment, you are surrounded by caring people who understand what you are experiencing and want to support you.
- Experience Structure and Routine. During treatment, you will reinstate healthy routines within a structured environment. The program’s daily schedule will help prepare you for a healthy lifestyle after treatment.
Negatives of Treatment
While the pros outweigh the cons, there are some drawbacks to going to treatment. These might include:
- The Cost of Treatment. Treatment does have a price tag; however, many insurance plans cover at least some of the costs of treatment, and some programs offer payment plans to help spread out the costs over time.
- Taking an Extended Leave from Work. Some may worry about the impact an extended leave of absence may have on their job or career.
- Exposure to Negative Patient Experiences. Many fear the risk of being exposed to individuals that act out, or subject others to a negative mindset.
When weighing the pros and cons of getting treatment for an SUD, it is evident that the benefits significantly outweigh the negatives. Take the leap, and get the treatment you or a loved one deserve.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer both inpatient and outpatient programs, holistic addiction treatment, drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to heal each individual with respect and dignity, and reflects on our ongoing commitment to meet new challenges. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.