Overcoming Common Barriers to Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Understanding barriers to treatment is an important part of getting people the help they need. An expert from the Oakland Community Health Network (OCHN) explains.

For people dealing with substance abuse disorders (SUDs), getting treatment is crucial. However, many barriers can prevent individuals from accessing the help that they need.

“Overcoming barriers to substance use disorder treatment requires a multifaceted approach,” says Tradina Taylor, Manager of Access at Oakland Community Health Network (OCHN). “That includes raising awareness, reducing stigma, providing support and connecting people with the right resources.”

A barrier that someone may face is recognizing that they need help. They may not even know there is a problem. The first step in getting treatment requires you to acknowledge what you are facing. Know that there are resources and help available.

Here are five other barriers to treatment and how Oakland Community Health Network can help overcome them.

1. Stigma and shame. Society often attaches a negative perception to individuals with SUDs, which may make people reluctant to ask for help. People may feel embarrassed and afraid of what their families, friends and even employers may think. OCHN views substance use disorder like any other kind of medical problem and offers empathy, not judgment.

2. Co-occurring disorders. Many individuals who are facing mental health concerns may also be struggling with a substance use disorder. This can complicate the path to recovery. It is important to address these concerns when reaching out for help, as integrating treatment for both disorders can lead to better health outcomes.

3. Fear of taking action. Addressing and recovering from a substance use disorder can seem overwhelming. “Getting treatment for an SUD requires you to change and take action,” says Taylor. “People can feel reluctant to begin treatment because they do not want to fail.”

OCHN helps individuals combat their reluctance and fear by offering support and encouragement. The goal is to allow individuals to manage their expectations about recovery and recognize they are not alone in their journey.

4. Lack of awareness about financial assistance. Individuals may be hesitant to reach out for fear of financial concerns. OCHN is here to help determine if you qualify for financial assistance that may be available.

5. Unique barriers for women. There are unique barriers for women because they are often the primary caregivers of children. This may create hesitancy to seek treatment, as it could disrupt their routine. Programs available through OCHN are tailored to parents. “OCHN and its provider network can assist pregnant women and mothers with childcare as they are getting connected to the help needed,” says Taylor.

Whether you or someone you love is dealing with a SUD, it is important to offer support and be compassionate, Taylor explains. “The OCHN Access Team is ready to provide services and walk you through getting the help you need.”

Call the Oakland County Community Health Network Main Access Line at 248-464-6363.Visit the website at: oaklandchn.org.

OCHN is contracted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to lead a provider service network and manage care for approximately 29,000 Oakland County residents at more than 400 service sites across the county. People who receive public behavioral health services through OCHN’s provider network include those who have an intellectual or developmental disability, mental health concerns, or substance use disorder. Most of these individuals have Medicaid insurance coverage.   

OCHN’s goal is to ensure these individuals are aware of and have access to services and supports that will improve their health and quality of life, as well as ensure their engagement in full community participation. Its mission to “inspire hope, empower people, and strengthen communities” reflects an unyielding belief in a “Valuable System for Valued People.” Programs and supports provided by OCHN’s service network are available at oaklandchn.org.

Jenny Kales
Jenny Kales
Content editor Jenny Kales has been in the business of writing for more than 20 years. A natural storyteller, she loves helping Metro Parent clients tell their stories in a way that resonates with their audiences.


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