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10 Common Reasons Addicts Don’t Get the Help They Need

I’ve been working with individuals in rehab for a long time, and the one thing that I find that almost all of them have in common is that they didn’t think they had a problem at first. Even when they did recognize some of their issues, there was frequently something holding them back from seeking treatment. In my experience, there are ten specific reasons that addicts don’t get the help they need.

10 Common Reasons
  1. The most common reason for not getting help is the denial of the problem itself. The individual can see the drug habit as a normal part of everyday life that doesn’t have a negative effect. This can happen with any addiction, from video gaming to alcohol to heroin and other hard drugs.
  2. The second most common reason addicts don’t get help is fear. It takes a lot of courage to admit that there is a problem and that you need help to overcome it. Fear doesn’t stop at there. There is also the potential fear of going through the withdrawal process because they may not know what to expect. It is often easier to deal with the evil that is known than to try to overcome it by stepping into the unknown.
  3. Giving up the high is another reason that addicts choose to avoid treatment. That good feeling they get from the hit is so addictive that they can’t imagine living without it. It is the reason they get up in the morning and the reason for everything they do during the day. There is a comfort in knowing the high will be there no matter what the consequences are.
  4. Very similar to not giving up the high is the fear of being cut off from the drug supply. Most addicts realize that rehabilitation starts with giving up the source of the addiction. This is the one source of comfort they have in their lives. Not being able to reach out and quell the anxiety of everyday life with a quick hit is enough to keep many people from getting the help they need.
  5. Addicts don’t want to give up control of their lives any more than anyone else does. Admitting that they are not in control of their addiction is not something that they are willing to do. Seeking treatment for addiction is not on their radar at all.
  6. Drug rehabilitation comes with a certain social stigma. Going into rehab is admitting that there is a problem too big for the individual to handle. Some people don’t want the social contempt and judgment that comes with it and choose to continue down the path of addiction.
  7. The addict who fears social stigma will often fall back on the hope that the addiction will go away by itself. This is by no means the only group that falls into the wishful thinking category. The danger of this type of thinking is that if the addict does go a few days without using, when they finally do, the hit to their self-esteem can drive them further into the throes of addiction.
  8. Addicts who have been using for a long time sometimes believe they are too far gone for treatment to help. They believe that treatment won’t make their lives better and it is simply a waste of time.
  9. One of the common things that happens during the course of addiction is that the addict will lose contact with their friends and loved ones. Being alone for a long time can make the addict feel like the only friends they have are those they get high with. There is no one who really cares about them at all. With no one who cares, the addict feels there is no reason to get better.
  10. At the end of the addiction cycle is the addict who wants nothing more than an end to life. Wanting to die is common among long-term addicts. They won’t actively seek a way to end their lives in most cases, but the continued use of drugs and alcohol will inevitably lead them there.

The one thing that will consistently be true about addiction recovery is that a strong social support group is the key to success. That’s the one thing that can overcome many of the excuses that an addict has for not seeking treatment. I’m a believer in the power of family and friends, having seen it time and time again.