Predicting the new onset of perceived need for care and help-seeking for alcohol use disorders in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions
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Epidemiologic studies have found that approximately one third of individuals will experience either alcohol abuse or dependence during their lifetime. However, only a minority will seek help or perceive a need for help. The purpose of this thesis is to provide a longitudinal investigation of the predictors of new onset perceived need for care and help-seeking in individuals with a lifetime alcohol use disorder who have no prior history of perceived need or help-seeking. Methods: Data were drawn from Waves 1 and 2 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC; n=34,653), a 3-year longitudinal nationally representative survey of the United States population. Results: Respondents with an incidence of perceived need and help-seeking were more likely to be male, younger, less educated, and black. Those who sought help and perceived a need for help were more likely to have a concurrent Axis I or II disorder after controlling for sociodemographic differences and social, legal, economic problems. They also had very high odds of having a persistent alcohol use disorder (OR=4.68) and experiencing social or legal problems related to their alcohol use after controlling for sociodemographics and psychiatric comorbidity (AOR’s from 5.59-38.42). Conclusion: Individuals with a history of having no perceived need for care or help-seeking may represent a unique group among those with an alcohol use disorder. Psychiatric comorbidity and social or legal problems related to alcohol use were both independent predictors of perceived need and help-seeking.