Thursday, August 31, 2023

1 in 3 Adults Knows Someone Who May Be Struggling With Addiction, APA Poll Finds

More than 70% of American adults said they would know how to get help for their friend or family member who was struggling with an addiction, and 53% said they would reach out to a doctor for help, according to the latest findings from APA’s Healthy Minds Monthly Poll. The majority of those surveyed also said that if their loved one was dealing with addiction, they would initiate a conversation with them about addiction.

“It’s promising … that Americans show such openness to talking with loved ones who may have substance use disorders or behavioral addictions,” APA President Petros Levounis, M.D., M.A., said in a news release. The survey suggests that Americans are familiar with various methods of recovery, he continued.

The poll was conducted online by Morning Consult from August 12 to 13 among 2,201 adults. It had a margin of error of ±2 percentage points percentage points. Addiction was defined as a state of psychological or physical dependence (or both) on the use of alcohol or other drugs. The survey also noted that the term addiction sometimes applies to behavioral disorders, such as sexual, internet, or gambling addictions.

Thirty-six percent of respondents said they know someone who struggles with addiction. Further, adults aged 18 to 34 were twice as likely as adults aged 65 or older to say they know someone struggling with addiction (44% vs. 22%). Additional findings include the following:

  • If a loved one was struggling with addiction, 73% of respondents said they would refer this person to recovery treatment; 74% said they would initiate a conversation about mental health or addiction.
  • When asked to select which treatment they would most likely recommend to a loved one with addiction, 24% of respondents selected inpatient treatment and 23% selected support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous; 19% of respondents had no opinion or did not know what treatment they would recommend to a loved one with addiction.
  • Among the available responses on the survey, 65% of respondents considered recovery from a mental illness or addiction to be “Being able to function better in life,” while 38% said they consider recovery to be “Feeling better.”
  • Only 7% of respondents said they did not think recovery from a mental illness or addiction is possible.

Overall, 8% of respondents said they would turn to social media for help for a loved one struggling with addiction. Among those aged 18 to 44, however, about 15% said they would reach out to social media.

“Reaching younger generations with credible, evidence-based information on social media, particularly about subjects like mental illness and addiction, is critical,” APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., said in the release. “The trends in the poll absolutely support that organizations [such as APA] have a role to play in ensuring medically accurate information is available and widespread on these channels.”

For related information, see the Psychiatric News AlertRespondents to APA Poll Express Confidence in Psychiatry as Innovative Field.”

(Image: iStock/KatarzynaBialasiewicz)

Nominations Due Friday for APA Trustee Positions

APA’s success hinges on the expertise, knowledge, and input of its members. Help shape the future of APA and the profession of psychiatry by nominating yourself or a colleague for one of the open positions on APA’s Board of Trustees by Friday, September 1.



The content of Psychiatric News does not necessarily reflect the views of APA or the editors. Unless so stated, neither Psychiatric News nor APA guarantees, warrants, or endorses information or advertising in this newspaper. Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.