When someone is struggling with substance use, seeking treatment can seem like the obvious answer. Addiction causes a cascade of issues that can manifest physically, emotionally, socially, and financially. It would seem from the outside that someone coping with those consequences would want to do everything in their power to improve the situation. In reality, however, there are many obstacles that can stand between someone and their recovery.
If you are living with an addiction, you most likely have an intimate understanding of many of these obstacles. For those who love someone with an addiction, understanding some of these obstacles can help you to better appreciate the perspective of your loved one and learn how to support them.
Fear Creates Obstacles
An overarching theme that encapsulates many obstacles to treatment is fear. This fear can manifest regarding many aspects of the treatment process, including the following:
Fear of No Control
When a person accepts that they need help for their addiction, it may feel that they are giving up control. This is especially the case if they have not disclosed their substance abuse to important people in their life. Making the decision to pursue treatment might mean revealing to others that they have been struggling with substance use.
Fear of Ramifications
A person might fear the implications this will have on their relationships. They might worry about whether their relationship with their significant other will survive. Questions about how they will look in the eyes of their children may arise. It is understandable to worry about how their employer will receive this information. This fear can persist even when someone has an understanding and loving support system.
Fear of Stigma
Stigma is a very real issue when it comes to substance abuse and mental health. It can keep people quiet when they really need to be reaching out for help. These unknown reactions can be daunting, and it can be difficult to cope with the fear of these relationships spinning out of control.
Fear of the Unknown
Another fear that can keep people rooted in place rather than seeking treatment is the fear of treatment itself. As painful and chaotic as addiction can be, the fear of the unknown can paint the status quo in an almost positive light. Sometimes making a change feels harder than simply enduring the current situation. Imagining a life without substances can be difficult for someone who has been at the mercy of drugs and alcohol for an extended period of time. The idea of coping with withdrawals and urges can feel impossible.
This fear can be exacerbated by the lack of information the typical person has about addiction treatment. Being exposed to its portrayal in media without any facts about the realities of it can give someone a distorted perception of it. Making the decision to pause or uproot one’s life to pursue an unknown treatment can feel riskier than coping with addiction alone each day.
Fear of Exposure
Treatment is inherently accompanied by a forfeiture of privacy because of the need to discuss personal thoughts and emotions to cut to the root of one’s addiction. The fear of demonstrating this level of vulnerability can feel insurmountable for some people, especially those who naturally keep their emotions close to the vest.
Does Treatment Even Work?
This question has most likely crossed the mind of everyone living with addiction. There can be a fair amount of skepticism surrounding the process of treatment and whether it is even worth it. Fortunately, the evidence tells us that substance abuse can be effectively managed with treatment.
Some people may not question whether treatment is effective, but they may be skeptical about whether they actually need treatment. They might think that their substance use does not constitute an addiction or that it is not having any negative impact on their lives.
It is common for those closest to someone with an addiction to notice the negative repercussions first, and this is why interventions can be helpful in initiating treatment. Someone might realize they have a problem but feel that it is not bad enough to seek help because they have not yet hit “rock bottom.”
The Logistics of Treatment
There are many people who recognize the need for treatment and want to pursue it but feel unable to because of external factors. The logistics of accessing treatment can present a significant obstacle to people who otherwise understand how treatment could benefit them.
Some of these obstacles include the following:
- Financial concerns and issues with insurance coverage
- Treatment centers not having immediate availability and needing to be on a waitlist
- Location of treatment centers and needing to relocate
- Obligations at work or home and securing childcare
- Transportation and getting to and from treatment
- The risk of losing employment
- The time commitment required by treatment
It is true that treatment disrupts routines and requires planning and commitment, but it is also true that this sacrifice is well worth it. Identifying the obstacles to treatment and establishing a plan to work through them creates a path toward recovery and a future free from the hardship caused by addiction. Fortunately, you do not have to figure this out alone.
Seeking treatment for substance use disorder is an essential investment in future success and wellness. If you are considering treatment or you love someone who you think could benefit from treatment, the obstacles can feel daunting. Fear and doubt about being able to access and commit to treatment can prevent people from obtaining the help they need and deserve. Family-Centered Services is here to support you and your family in pursuing treatment and becoming free from the hold of addiction. We offer a comprehensive array of services that will guide you from initial intervention to discharge and support each member of your family along the way. Call (509) 991-5822 to learn more and get started today.