Perceived Stigma May Prevent Alcoholics From Seeking Treatment

By Staff Writer

Substance abuse treatment programs may be one of the most effective options for alcoholics who are trying to give up their addiction. However, a new study from Columbia University researchers has found that many individuals avoid seeking treatment because they are wary of the stigma that may come with it.

Not everyone is worried about stigma. Some of the study’s participants said that they did not think a person entering a rehab facility would be stigmatized. However, alcoholics who perceived a potential negative association were 60 percent less likely to seek treatment for their addiction.

For the study, researchers surveyed nearly 35,000 individuals in the general population. Of this group, 6,309 identified themselves as alcoholics. Those who believed they would be stigmatized for seeking treatment were considerably less likely to do so.

Researchers said that their findings have major implications, as alcoholism is one of the most prevalent psychological disorders. If individuals are concerned about seeking substance abuse treatment, few addicts may be able to recover from their dependency.