Send to

Choose Destination
Contemp Drug Probl. 2012 Winter;39(4):687-714.

Pressure to Reduce Drinking and Reasons for Seeking Treatment.

Author information

Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, 6475 Christie Avenue, Suite 400, Emeryville, CA94608-1010, Phone (510) 597-3440 extension 277, Fax (510) 985-6459.



Individuals with alcohol problems often receive pressure to change their drinking. However, when they enter treatment it is unclear how often it is because of the pressure they received or other reasons.


A secondary analysis was conducted using four cross sectional National Alcohol Surveys (NASs) collected at 5-year intervals between 1995 and 2010. Treatment seekers (N=476) were interviewed about 1) all reasons for seeking treatment, 2) their primary reason, 3) lifetime heavy drinking, and 4) whether they ever received pressure from six different sources (spouse, family, friends, doctor, work and police).


Over 90% of the sample received pressure from at least one source. Thirty-four percent identified legal problems/felt forced as their primary reason for seeking treatment. Other primary reasons included a desire to improve relationships (25%) and health (15%). When asked about all reasons, 46% endorsed five or more reasons and 74% included legal problems/felt forced. When pressure was received from police it was often the primary reason for seeking treatment. When pressure was received from physicians or work, legal problems/felt forced was less likely to be the primary reason. Most reasons, including legal problems/felt forced, did not change significantly over time.


A primary reason for seeking alcohol treatment is drinking-related legal problems or feeling forced. However, legal problems/feeling forced occurs along with a variety of additional reasons. Future research should assess pathways between receipt of pressure from different sources, recognition of different types of problems, and reasons given for seeking treatment.


alcohol services; drinking Pressure; reasons for seeking help; treatment barriers; treatment entry


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center