Saturday, October 28, 2006

AA Obstacle to Effective Treatment

Effective modern treatment methods aren't reaching the majority of people who need them because the addiction treatment field is molded on the AA model, and most people don't want that, says a report today in the MIT Technology Review. Source.

Mark Willenbring (right), director of the Division of Treatment and Recovery Research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, says:

The treatment system we currently have [for alcohol dependence] is separated from mainstream health care and mainstream mental-health care. It was devised in 1975, when all we had for treatment was basically group counseling and AA. So when people think about getting treatment for drinking, they envision going somewhere like the Betty Ford Center.

That system has three main problems: First, most people don't want it; they have to be forced into it. The second problem is that patients within the general health and mental-health system are not getting located or treated. Third, because the programs are built around counseling, they are not staffed by medical personnel. So there's no one there to talk about medications available for treating alcohol dependence. And a lot of counselors don't really believe in [medication].

Consequently, the new treatments we're developing are not being implemented.
Willenberg says that "Over the next 10 years, I think we'll see a paradigm shift in the kinds of treatments that are available and how they are offered."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

in that man's opinion - AA is an obstacle to selling more pharmaceuticals.
If anything, rehabilitation centers give TOO much medication. I was incorrectly diagnosed with bipolar disorder and prescribed depecote and ciraquil (however you spell that).
It made me a walking zombie.

Of course some people use the "I don't like AA" excuse not to quit drinking. Its because - WOW - they DONT WANT TO QUIT.