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Alcohol Treatment

Based on a 2007 survey, 7.8 percent of individuals aged 12 or older needed alcohol treatment for an alcohol problem in the past year; 8.1 percent received treatment at a substance use treatment facility; 4.5 percent required treatment but did not receive it; and 87.4 percent did not receive treatment and did not see the need for it. Only 27.9 percent of individuals who did not receive treatment for alcohol dependency but felt they needed it made an effort to receive treatment in the prior year. Estimates for 2004-2007 reflect that the most frequent reasons stated for not receiving treatment for alcohol dependency were not being ready to stop using alcohol, and insurance costs. Other reasons involved the social stigma associated with receiving treatment, feeling that treatment centers were not accessible enough, not feeling the need for treatment or thinking they could handle the problem on their own, and not knowing where to find treatment.

The abuse of alcohol affects the physical, mental, and fiscal health of millions of individuals each year. Alcohol treatment programs includes a wide array of programs designed to effectively treat alcohol dependence or abuse; however, there are many individuals who need treatment but refuse to use these resources, refusing to recognize the necessity of them. By increasing the public’s awareness of the symptoms of alcohol problems, widening screening for alcohol issues in primary care and emergency departments, and by ensuring that individuals are matched with the proper intervention or treatment services, an abundance of lives can be saved. Additionally, they can help to improve the lives of alcohol abusers, their families, and other citizens in the community.

In a 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) survey, respondents were asked if they ever felt they needed alcohol treatment at any time in the prior year but did not receive it. The chart below depicts the statistics for individuals needing treatment for an alcohol problem.

Figure 1. Needed Treatment for an Alcohol Problem in the Past Year among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by Demographic Characteristics: 2007


Among individuals who required treatment for alcohol use, it was determined that adults aged 26 or older were more likely than adolescents and young adults to have gotten treatment at a treatment facility; there was not much difference as it relates to gender.

When an alcoholic decides to undergo treatment, he must first rid himself of the alcohol inside his body. This grueling process of detoxification can create severe withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the severity, he may be required to undergo inpatient or outpatient care. Most often, outpatient care is the chosen route, provided there is a sober individual present to assist the alcoholic during the process.

Alcohol treatment should not be underestimated, as it helps to have a licensed physician determine whether medication and/or therapy is necessary. Furthermore, there are a bevy of treatment facilities available to assist with alcohol dependency. Visit SAMHSA’s website, click on the facility locator, and you will be able to find one located near you. Additionally, many of these facilities are publicly funded.

Drug Enforcement Agnecy (DEA) –
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) –
National Institue of Health (NIH) –

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