According to the 2001-2002 Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions published in this months issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, alcohol disorders affect 3 out of 10 adults during their lifespan; specifically 17.8% of adults will abuse alcohol during their lifetime and 12.5% will become alcohol dependent. Alarmingly, however, only 24.1% of those that do become dependent will receive treatment. According to Deborah S. Hasin, PhD, of Columbia and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, surveys measuring the treatment rate for alcohol dependency ten years ago were only slightly lower, “a disappointing lack of progress.”
For those that have developed a physiological dependency on alcohol, talking about change is rarely enough; in most cases medically supervised detox is necessary. I personally feel that many more men and woman would be willing to seek treatment for alcohol dependency if they were encouraged to do so. Pastors, benevolence ministers and ministries, and Chaplains are in a unique position to gently guide people will alcohol dependency toward treatment.
Below is an excerpt of an article from Time that discusses the survey:
More than 30 percent of American adults have abused alcohol or suffered from alcoholism at some point in their lives, and few have received treatment, according to a new government study. Alcoholics who got treatment first received it, on average, at about age 30 — eight years after they developed dependence on drinking, researchers reported.
“That’s a big lag,” especially combined with the fact that only 24 percent of alcoholics reported receiving any treatment at all, said study co-author Bridget Grant of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The treatment rate for alcoholics was slightly less than the rate found a decade earlier. The study did not look at reasons for the decline, but other research has revealed a belief among doctors and the public that treatment doesn’t work.