Stages of Recovery: Understanding the Necessity of Treatment

Study Background

American Addiction Centers surveyed 1,042 Americans on their perceptions surrounding addiction rehabilitation. We found that across the states, attitudes vary regarding:

  • Perceived likelihood to achieve sobriety.
  • The role of relapse in treatment and recovery.
  • How necessary it is that an individual receives treatment.

Relapse as a Natural Part of the Addiction Recovery Process

  • Those who have struggled with addiction themselves are likelier to agree that relapse is a natural part of the addiction recovery process (38.1%) than those who have a loved one who has struggled (28.7%) or the general population (30.4%).
  • Older adults (> 55 years old) are the likeliest age group to believe that relapse is a natural part of the addiction recovery process (68% somewhat agree or agree). Young adults (18 – 34 years old) are the least likely (61.4% somewhat agree or agree).
  • Gender was not an indicator of respondents’ attitudes toward whether relapse is a natural part of the addiction recovery process.
  • Level of Education completed was not an indicator of respondents’ attitudes toward whether relapse is a natural part of the addiction recovery process.
  • Region of the US was not an indicator of respondents’ attitudes toward whether relapse is a natural part of the addiction recovery process.
  • All demographics of respondents agreed by majority that relapse is a natural part of the addiction recovery process.

Perceived Likelihood to Achieve Sobriety

By Substance

  • Those who have struggled with addiction themselves are the most optimistic about one’s chances to achieve sobriety after relapse for all substances surveyed (alcohol: 81.0% somewhat or very likely; cocaine: 69.5% somewhat or very likely; heroin: 53.3% somewhat or very likely) compared to their general population counterparts.
  • Regardless of demographic, all respondents indicated that, on average, they believe recovery from alcohol after relapsing is more likely than recovery from cocaine or heroin (least likely) after relapsing.
  • For all substances surveyed (alcohol, cocaine, and heroin), female respondents were more optimistic than male respondents about the chances of achieving sobriety after initial relapse.
  • When asked about the perceived likelihood of achieving sobriety after relapsing from heroin, responses were most evenly distributed (vs. responses for alcohol or cocaine), regardless of age group.
  • Those with a post-secondary degree were most optimistic than their counterparts with less formal education when it came to likelihood of achieving sobriety from all substances (alcohol, cocaine, heroin).
  • Region of the US was not a predictor of perceived likelihood to achieve sobriety from alcohol, cocaine, or heroin.

By Level of Care/Treatment History

  • Those who have struggled with an addiction indicated that attending inpatient/residential treatment considerably decreases one’s chances of attaining sobriety at over double the rate (14.3%) of their counterparts who have not struggled (6.0%).
  • Older adults (> 55) indicated that they believe not attending any treatment considerably decreases one’s chances of attaining sobriety at a higher rate (73.2%) than their young adult (58.2%) and adult (52.5%) counterparts.
  • Older adults (> 55) indicated that they believe attending residential treatment considerably increases one’s chances of attaining sobriety at a higher rate (49.6%) than their young adult (39.8%) and adult (40.6%) counterparts.
  • Takeaway: older adults (>55) perceive the stakes of attending or not attending treatment to be higher than their younger counterparts, regardless of the type of treatment/level of care.
  • Those who have received a post-secondary degree are, on average, more optimistic about one’s chances of attaining sobriety as a result of treatment than their counterparts with less higher education.
  • Respondents from the Northeast are, on average, more optimistic about one’s chances of attaining sobriety as a result of Outpatient and AA/NA treatment than their counterparts from the West. This trend is not true for residential treatment, where responses are similarly distributed among regional demographics.

By Relapse History

  • Across the board, respondents indicated that relapsing several times before becoming sober decreases one’s chances of attaining long-term sobriety.
  • Older adults (> 55) are more optimistic about the effect that never having relapsed has on one’s chances of attaining long-term sobriety. While they believe having never relapsed increases one’s chances of attaining long-term sobriety (53.7%), their younger counterparts are not so confident that never having relapsed actually increases the chances for long-term sobriety (39.3%, 38.6%).
  • Highest level of education received is not an indicator for one’s perception surrounding the effects of relapsing on attaining long-term sobriety.
  • Region of the US is not an indicator for one’s perception surrounding the effects of relapsing on attaining long-term sobriety.
  • Gender is not an indicator for one’s perception surrounding the effects of relapsing on attaining long-term sobriety.

Necessity of Treatment

  • Whether a subject has children is not a significant factor to respondents when evaluating whether they believe the subject needs treatment.
  • When evaluating whether they believe a subject definitely needs treatment for their substance use, respondents value financial consequences most highly (86.2%), followed by health consequences (83.8%), followed by family-related consequences (77.1%). When there are no significant consequences for a subject’s substance use, only 43.8% of respondents still believe the subject definitely needs treatment.
  • When a subject experiences a family-related consequence for their substance use, respondents perceive this as a stronger indicator that the subject definitely needs treatment when the subject is 50 or 35 years old (80.5% each) than when the subject is only 23 years old (70.5%).
  • When a subject experiences a health-related consequence for their substance use, respondents perceive this as a stronger indicator that the subject definitely needs treatment when the subject is only 23 years old (88.1%) than when they subject is 35 (85.0%) or 50 years old (78.4%).
  • Those who have a loved one who has struggled with addiction were more likely to indicate that subjects definitely need treatment (77.4%) than those who have struggled with addiction themselves (60.7%).
    • Note: 40.0% of respondents who have struggled with an addiction have not sought treatment.
  • Female respondents were more likely than their male counterparts to indicate that a subject definitely needs treatment (76.8% vs. 68.6%).
  • Highest level of education received is not an indicator for one’s perception surrounding whether a subject needs treatment.
  • Older adults are slightly more likely (75.2%) than their adult (73.4%) and young adult (70.6%) counterparts to believe a subject definitely needs treatment for their substance use.
  • Respondents from the South are more likely (75.2%) than those from the West (69.2%) to indicate that a subject definitely needs treatment. Respondents from the Northeast and Midwest fall in the middle.

 

Sources

American Addiction Centers. (2019)

Last Updated on September 19, 2019
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