How Many Addicts Seek Treatment?

The stigma associated with addiction and substance abuse leaves many who want to seek treatment in the shadows. They don't want to admit an issue. They don't want to go to a treatment center. They don't want others to know addiction is controlling their life. For first responders, giving up control to addiction when they have to be in control every day to save lives is not something they want to admit to anyone.

Admitting you have a problem for a first responder is the first step in seeking treatment. Let's look at how many addicts seek treatment and how first responders face unique challenges in reaching out for help.

Numbers Behind Addicts Seeking Treatment

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) provides various statistical analyses on addiction in America. They focus on addiction treatment, types of substance abuse, and more, with yearly stats that help us get a better picture of those suffering around us.

According to the NSDUH, more than 20 million people in the country suffer from one form of substance use disorder or another. That's almost eight percent of the population. Only about two million seek or receive any treatment for their addiction.

A study by SAMSHA states: "Heavy or binge alcohol drinking was reported in approximately 50 percent of male firefighters." Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health issues are at a higher incidence rate in first responders. The study shows that career firefighters often face substance abuse issues more than mental illness; their volunteer counterparts tend to battle mental illness more than addiction.

More studies must be done to understand the toll addiction and mental health has on first responders.

First responders face a unique challenge: their job's everyday stress leaves them vulnerable to the psychological distress that responsibility carries.

Why Is It So Hard for First Responders to Seek Treatment?

Imagine the responsibility of saving someone's life. Of being the only run to respond to a shooting, a fire, or a medical emergency. Can you fathom the amount of discipline, control, and calm needed to handle any of those situations? First responders face that every day. Their actions, words, and how they respond to unpredictable conditions saves lives or loses them.

These are individuals who maintain utmost control in the most uncontrollable situations. Because of their job, they feel like they should be in control at all times. To admit they have a substance abuse or addiction issue, they have to realize they have lost control of themselves. First responders then ask themselves: if they've lost control, can they still save lives every call?

Addiction treatment isn't a one-size-fits-all treatment plan. It requires an understanding of who a first responder is, what they experience, and why that holds them back from seeking treatment.

First Responders Need the Understanding of First Responders

Successful treatment for first responders needs a first responders' touch. First responders seeking treatment are struggling with addiction but so much more than that. They need therapists, addiction counselors, and support from people who understand what they're going through. They need First Responders First.

First Responders First is dedicated to helping first responders seek treatment and begin to work through their addiction and mental health issues one day at a time. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, contact us today to see how First Responders First helps our heroes seek treatment.