• Journal Article

Perceived need for treatment for alcohol use disorders: results from two national surveys

Citation

Edlund, M., Booth, B. M., & Feldman, Z. L. (2009). Perceived need for treatment for alcohol use disorders: results from two national surveys. Psychiatric Services, 60(12), 1618-1628.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Most individuals with alcohol use disorders receive no treatment for their disorder. Past research suggests that a major reason for this is that individuals with alcohol use disorders do not perceive a need for treatment. The research presented here had two objectives. First, to provide updated estimates of the percentage of individuals with alcohol use disorders who perceive a need for treatment, and among those, the percentage who receive any treatment for alcohol use disorders. And second, to investigate the determinants of perceived need for and utilization of treatment for alcohol use disorders. METHODS: Secondary data analyses were performed for two national surveys, the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (3,305 individuals with alcohol use disorders) and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (7,009 individuals with alcohol use disorders). RESULTS: In both surveys fewer than one in nine individuals with an alcohol use disorder perceived a need for treatment. In predicting perceived need, the explanatory power of diagnostic variables was much greater than that of demographic variables. Among those with perceived need, two out of every three persons reported receiving treatment in the past year. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that failure to perceive need continues to be the major reason that individuals with alcohol use disorders do not receive treatment. On the other hand, among those who perceived a need, a majority received treatment. It is likely that high levels of unmet need for treatment services for alcohol use disorders will persist as long as perceived need is low. Efforts are needed to increase levels of perceived need among those with alcohol use disorders