It’s no secret that the opioid epidemic has fueled high demand for substance use treatment. An estimated 15 million adults aged 26 or older needed substance use treatment in the past year, according to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. However, only 3 million adults received any treatment.
Let’s look at some of the common reasons individuals who need treatment aren’t getting it.
Not Ready to Stop Using
The hardest thing for someone to do is to admit they have a problem. Many believe you need to hit “rock bottom” before asking for help. But hitting so-called rock bottom isn’t always as dramatic as it is portrayed on TV and can be different for everyone. It can range from neglecting daily chores, self-care, or relationships to criminal and legal trouble.
Realizing you have a problem and accepting you have a problem are two different things. When you are finally ready to accept it, it means acknowledging to yourself and others that your continued substance use is harmful to your health and the well-being of others. While admitting this can be extremely difficult, it’s a necessary first step in getting much-needed treatment and starting down the road to lifelong recovery.
Cost of Treatment
Many people perceive that they are unable to afford substance use treatment. While treatment can be expensive, insurance plans are required to cover mental health disorders, including substance use disorders. Thanks to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2018, insurance companies are not allowed to discriminate against or deny coverage to individuals with substance use disorder. Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act of 2010 categorized mental health and addiction services as essential health benefits, calling for insurance companies to treat mental health and substance use disorder treatment like regular medical treatments.
Every insurance company has a different coverage plan. Call your insurance provider to request mental health and substance use treatment information to help determine the type of coverage you have. In addition, don’t forget to ask about co-payments, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses you might incur.
Where to Find Treatment
Looking for treatment can be an overwhelming task. A simple Google search of “substance use treatment centers near me” results in over 1.37B results in just over half a second. Whether you are a self-referring or referred by a physician, researching so many options can be overwhelming. If you are self-referring, one of the best things you can do is take a self-assessment. It will give you an idea of the level and type of care you need. You can then focus your search and reach out to treatment facilities that fit your potential care needs. Be sure to ask for their state licensing and certification information.
Sadly, stigma is widely associated with addiction, and one of the main reasons individuals don’t seek treatment. The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain. However, with treatment, you can “unlearn” addiction behaviors and develop coping strategies.
The best thing you can do to break through the stigma is to stand up for your health and well-being. Be open, honest, and play an active role in your treatment. Remember, you are not alone. Share your story with others to help create a community that will aid you in the healing and recovery process.
While admitting you have a problem is the first step in getting the treatment you need, remember you are not alone. Treatment is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Reach out to multiple treatment providers to see if they are a potential fit for your needs, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Finally, break the stigma. You are your own best advocate, don’t let the shame and guilt prevent you from seeking treatment. Your addiction does not define you.