Journal of Substance Abuse and Treatment
Treatment underutilization by persons with alcohol use disorder is well-documented. This study examined barriers to treatment at the latter stages of the treatment-seeking process, which was conceptualized as recognizing the problem, deciding that change is necessary, deciding that professional help is required, and seeking care. All participants identified themselves as having a drinking problem that was severe enough to warrant treatment. Differences between those who had (Treatment Seekers) and those who had not (Comparison Controls) sought treatment were evaluated, including the experience of person-related (e.g., shame) and treatment-related (e.g., cost) barriers. Person-related barriers were more commonly endorsed by both groups than treatment-related barriers. Comparison Controls were more likely to endorse both types of barriers, especially the preference for handling the problem without treatment. Treatment-related barriers were less relevant than person-related barriers at the latter stage of help seeking. The significance of barriers endured after accounting for other differences, such as drinking-related negative consequences. Treatment implications are discussed.