Drug Addiction Treatment

0

Concerning addiction treatment, everybody seems to have an opinion on how to stop using drugs and alcohol. The problem is there are too many opinions.

If you fall, land on your arm, experience pain and see bone sticking out, it would be an obvious fact your arm is broken. Go to a hospital and there is about a 100% certainty your bone would be set and a cast put on. Obvious, right?

With chemical dependence, the diagnosis, let alone the type of treatment, is not so obvious. If a person is diagnosed as being addicted to drugs or alcohol, what treatment is recommended? Here is where it gets interesting, as nobody can agree. Even abstinence is a debated subject, some people believe in harm reduction, or controlled use.

I recently became aware of 2 review studies.* Review studies take a look at 100’s of controlled, published research studies and then look for facts supported across many studies. Each of these 2 review studies found certain facts consistent across the boards. Here they are:

1. Social support is critical.

Success rates are drastically improved with a large social support network. This network can (and should) include family, friends and professionals. Engaging in new social networks such as self-help groups plays a significant role in maintaining recovery.

2. Long term treatment is better.

The evidence states that long term uninterrupted treatment produces better results than intense short term treatment. This tends to lend support to the recovery adage that getting sober is a process, not an event.

3. No one type of treatment is best.

There is no one clear leader or ‘gold standard’ type of treatment. 12 step treatment has been shown to be as effective as cognitive behavioral treatment and others. Project Match attempted to match types of patients to types of treatments and found out they all worked equally well, with a slight edge to 12 step facilitation because of the encouragement of long participation.

4. Confrontation does not work well.

The ‘in your face’ methods of treatment popular in the 1980’s do not work as well as forming an alliance for change with the patient. Patient support and positive reinforcement works better than ultimatums.

5. Therapeutic relationship is key.

Without a doubt the evidence states that having a positive relationship with either the therapist or a group (self-help) is a strong factor in recovery. If the is relationship is positive, patients are more likely to stay engaged.

Almost all successful addiction treatment models have commonalities of education on the disease, building life skills, repairing relationships and staying engaged over time.

This is just the tip of the iceberg on the realities of addiction treatment.

Concerning addiction treatment, everybody seems to have an opinion on how to stop using drugs and alcohol. The problem is there are too many opinions.

Leave a Comment

Fields marked by an asterisk (*) are required.