Most Alcoholics in ‘Serious Denial’ About Treatment

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Most people who abuse alcohol don't think they can benefit from treatment, according to a new government report.

Only 1.2 percent of the nation’s more than 7.4 million adults ages 21 to 64 with an untreated alcohol abuse disorder thought they could be helped by treatment, the report said.

And among those with an untreated alcohol dependence disorder, a more severe condition, only 7.8 percent  recognized they needed treatment, according to the report. Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence are considered disorders in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).

The report, released yesterday (April 7), is based on data from national surveys of 67,500 people conducted between 2006 and 2009.

The results provide "striking evidence that millions of Americans are in serious denial regarding problem drinking," Pamela S. Hyde, administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, said in a statement.

Alcohol abuse includes drinking-related behavior that may cause a person to physically endanger themselves or others; get into trouble with the law; experience difficulties in relationships or jobs; and fail to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home, the report said.

Alcohol dependence is more serious than alcohol abuse, and includes addiction to alcohol, inability to cut down or stop drinking, and repeated interpersonal, school, or work-related problems that can be directly attributed to the use of alcohol, according to the report.

Pass it on: Most people with an alcohol abuse or dependence disorder don't think they can benefit from treatment.

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Live Science Staff
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