Of the 22 million Americans who are dependent on illicit drugs and alcohol, only 2.5 million seek addiction treatment. Such a stark contrast draws attention to a serious public health concern. Even among people who do seek addiction treatment, some are more likely to engage in it than others.
Researchers from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla., and collaborators sought to gain more insight into the role treatment readiness plays in engagement in addiction treatment, or the set of characteristics that are most likely to predict engagement in treatment, such as problem recognition and the desire for help.
The study was published in the Journal of Drug Education: Substance Abuse Research and Prevention.
They began by analyzing data from the 2012 Global Appraisal of Individual Needs-Intake (GAIN-I), which comprised nearly 5,500 records of adult substance use treatment clients. Treatment experiences covered several levels of care, including short-term and long-term residential, outpatient, intensive outpatient and corrections-based treatment, and post-treatment continuing care. Data measured client characteristics, treatment participation predictors and treatment outcomes.
Researchers identified several factors that predict a decreased likelihood of treatment participation:
- Being married, widowed or divorced. Marriage lowered the odds of engagement by 23%. People who were divorced, separated or widowed were 26% less likely to engage in treatment than people who had never been married.
- Lower educational achievement. People who did not earn their high school diploma were 15% less likely to engage in treatment than people who graduated from high school.
- Being male. Men were 22% less likely to engage in treatment than women.
- Being black or white. The likelihood of engaging treatment was 21% less for whites and 30% less for blacks compared to other races and ethnicities.
Additionally, nearly 40% of clients from the data group were involved with the criminal justice system in some capacity. A 2000 study found that clients who were legally coerced into addiction treatment have lower motivation to participate and are therefore less engaged.
According to researchers’ findings, the two things that did indicate treatment engagement were poor physical health and substance use within the 90 days before beginning addiction treatment.
“Treatment readiness” is a common phrase in the addiction recovery community. But according to these findings, readiness is a weak predictor of addiction treatment engagement. In other words, being “ready” for treatment doesn’t necessarily guarantee that a person will engage in or complete treatment.
By identifying the characteristics that make people more or less likely to engage in addiction treatment, treatment providers can develop more specialized and effective intervention services and improve an individual’s motivation to engage.
If you or someone you love is ready to seek treatment that motivates you to engage and achieve lasting recovery, Spearhead Lodge can help. For more information about our unique approach to extended care treatment for men in the Austin, Texas, community, contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-866-905-4550.