Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Substance Abuse and Addiction Health Center

Font Size

Few Alcoholics Realize They Need Help

Federal Report Shows That Millions of Americans With Alcohol Dependency See No Need for Treatment
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

April 8, 2011 -- Most Americans with alcohol dependency don’t realize they need treatment and don’t believe that treatment would help, a federal report finds.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says that of the nation’s 7.4 million adults aged 21 and 64 who have an untreated alcohol abuse disorder, only 1.2% believe they could benefit from treatment.

And only 7.8% recognize that they need treatment, the SAMHSA report says.

Failure to Seek Help

The numbers mean that of an estimated 6 million Americans going untreated for alcohol dependency, only 506,000 perceive they need treatment. The findings highlight the need to raise awareness about adults with drinking problems and develop ways to identify, confront, and help problem drinkers get treatment.

The SAMHSA report says alcohol dependence is a more serious disorder than alcohol abuse.

People who are alcohol dependent are addicted to alcohol and are unable to cut down or stop drinking. Alcohol dependence can lead to interpersonal, school, or work-related problems, SAMHSA says.

It also can negatively impact society at large.

“SAMHSA’s spotlight provides striking evidence that millions of Americans are in serious denial regarding problem drinking,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, JD, says in a news release. “Individuals, friends, and family members clearly need help and support in confronting and doing something about the problem. Without help, alcoholism can be fatal.”

She says the nation needs to ask “why we stand by and allow so many people to self-destruct before intervening.”

The survey was based on interviews with about 67,500 people around the country who are age 12 or older.

SAMHSA’s Data Spotlight for April 7, 2011, says pathways to fighting alcohol problems are readily available and recommends its web site for people seeking help.

Today on WebMD

child ignored by parents
prescription pain pills
Woman experiencing withdrawal symptoms
Teen girl huddled outside house
Man with glass of scotch
overturned shot glass
assortment of medication
Depressed and hurting