Attitudes Toward Alcoholism

June 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Research & Evaluation

In 1998, The Rush Recovery Institute commissioned Peter D. Hart Research Associates to conduct a first of its kind nationwide study on alcoholism. Members of the clergy, medical doctors, employers and people who have a current or recovering alcoholic in their immediate family were surveyed. The study quantifies the role of denial, stigma and shame, and lack of knowledge in preventing suffering alcoholics from seeking treatment.

The study reveals that:

  • 82% of doctors admit that MDs avoid addressing alcoholism in their patients, and only 39% of family members of alcoholics say the alcoholic’s doctor has raised the issue. However, 72% of those family members whose doctors have not intervened say that they would want the doctor to do so.
  • 50% of employers acknowledge that managers avoid addressing alcoholism in their employees.
  • 58% of clergy who counsel individuals and families make the same admission about their brethren.
  • Even an alcoholic’s immediate family members are likely to avoid the issue, with 50% revealing that they denied the problem to themselves for at least several years.

While the study details some substantial challenges facing the alcoholism recovery community, it also identifies many signs of hope. The groups that could take a greater role in responding to the problem have serious misgivings or hesitations that must be addressed, but they also show a willingness to take greater responsibility to help alcoholics find their way to recovery. As a result of the study, The Rush Recovery Institute has turned its focus on educating the clergy. They are the second group surveyed, behind doctors that alcoholics and their families turn to for help. The study showed the clergy to be the most receptive group to furthering education about the problem and assisting alcoholics and their families into recovery.

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