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Most People Don’t Admit They Need Addiction Help

One of the biggest barriers to overcoming alcohol and drug addiction and abuse is that most people don’t realize, or admit, they have a problem and, therefore, don’t try to get addiction help. In fact, the most recent research by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) showed that that’s the case with over 90% of Americans. 

Early in my life I grew up with hard drinkers. They hit the bars every night after work and, already drunk, brought their friends home with them to continue drinking around 8 or 9 o’clock. On the weekends they started drinking by about noon, and kept it up all weekend – with a break on Sunday morning to go to church.

A few years later we moved to an upper middle class neighborhood. People came right home from work, but mixed martinis. They’d have a couple before dinner, another type of drink with dinner, and a few afterwards. When the weekend came, they really piled it on – especially if friends were over, which was often the case – but they did it around their swimming pools. More genteel, more educated, and more sophisticated, they rarely seemed drunk – not like the first group.

Both groups were alcoholics, they all needed addiction help, but none of them would admit it. Although it was very clear to an outsider – someone who didn’t drink, or drank very little.

Both groups died earlier than they should have, developed heart and liver problems, diabetes, and so on. All of their kids were messed up one way or another – the parents thought what they did was fine so there was no problem with their kids doing the same. If they were underage, they drank at home. And it was totally acceptable. When the kids passed out, the parents thought it was funny.

If you are close to someone you think has a drinking or drug problem, and are believing what they tell you – i.e. that the problem is you, not them – check out the tests in Do You Have An Alcohol or Drug Problem? That will answer your questions. And if you find that person does have a problem, get them the addiction help services they need. If they won’t admit it, try using an interventionist. Unlike the TV shows, about 70% of the people an interventionist deals with doesn’t admit they have a problem. Check it out.

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